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EMPIRES IN AUTUMN: LIMITATIONS OF IMPERIAL OVERSTRETCH IN THE OTTOMAN AND BRITISH EMPIRES BY ANDREW LOUIS SMITH A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Science New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the d egree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. David Harvey Sarasota, Florida January, 2012
ii Dedicated to Louis W. Smith
iii Acknowledgments Thank you to everyone who helped me reach this point, who didn't stop believing in me, and kept pushing me until I got here. My parents, Dale and Karen, my grandfather, Louis, and my si ster, Katie. Anyelle deserves her own paragraph, for putting up with as much as she did. And for not tolerating any more than that.
iv Table of Contents Dedication ii Acknowledgment iii Table of Contents iv Abstract v Introduction 1 Fall of the House of Osman 5 Economic Foundations 6 Rise of the Turks 12 T he Economy of Religious War 21 Ottoman Military Power 28 Attempts at Reform 39 Tanzimat 43 The Sick Man of Europe 51 Conclusions 55 T he Sun Sets on the British Empire 60 The First Empire 62 Three Motivations of Empire: Gold 64 Three Motivations of Empire: Glory 73 Thre e Motivations of Empire: God 84 South Africa 90 Th e End of the British Empire 94 Conclusions 99 The Ends of Empire 101 Works Cited 107
v EMPIRES IN AUTUMN: LIMITATIONS OF IMPERIAL OVERSTRETCH IN THE OTTOMAN AND BRITISH EMPIRES Andrew Smith New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT This thesis, an examination of the autumns of th e Ottoman and British Empires examines the social, political, and economic factors leading to the decline and dissolution of the Ottoman and British Empires. Beginning with the original motivations for imperial expansion, and contrasting the top down mili tary expansion of the Ottomans with the bottom up economic expansion of the British, and continuing through the evolving empires, the factors are examined with consideration to Paul Kennedy's theory of imperial overstretch put forth in The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers The consideration of factors beyond Kennedy's metric of relative economic decline aims to provide a deeper analysis of the social conditions and the role the will of the people played in contributing to the declining political influence and economic power of both empires. Dr. David Harvey History
Smith 1 The British and Ottoman Empires were two of the last examples of the predecessor to the modern nation state. Despite similarities in power and territorial expanse, the two bore little resemblance to each other. The democratic, bottom up base of the Brit ish and the autocratic, top down growth of the Ottomans, created two widely different empires. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw fundamental shifts in the division of the world. Between industrialization and the rise of nation states the British and Ottomans faced a changing world in which they would be forced to adapt. Despite Ottoman failure and British success in modernizing their society, the British Empire only survived fifty years beyond the Ottoman Empire. Research into the end of empire s owes a debt to Paul Kennedy's Rise and Fall of the Great Powers Kennedy's analysis of the relative economic strengths of the Great Powers is useful as a building block, but will not be given the central role Kennedy grants to it in his own models. For the Ottomans, Kennedy's model would hold that an economic decline was brought about by excessive military commitments throughout the empire, yet the driving factors in the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire were internal pressures, and not foreign threats. In the case of the British, Kennedy describes imperial overstretch occurring after the British spent decades accumulating commitments around the world, finally reaching the point of bankruptcy and economic collapse in the years following World War I. Ho wever, the British Empire did not so much collapse as it was released due to social and political pressure from within the colonies, and not beyond the empire. While the relative economic power of a state is of the utmost importance in
Smith 2 judging relative ec onomic, political, and militaristic strength, it is merely symptomatic of the greater cancers riddling an empire in decline. Social upheaval, reactionary political interests, intellectual stagnation and technological obsolescence each play a far greater r ole in decline. In the case of the Ottoman Empire, a centralized government supported by a conservative closed military order allowed for little innovation or creative solutions, leading to long term stagnation. The inability to keep pace with the politi cal reforms and technological advances of Europe left the Ottomans unable to hold their wide reaching Empire. States and nations were peeled off, first liberated in Eastern Europe by Christian nations seeking to free other Christians from Muslim rule, and later by internal revolts as nationalist sentiments swept through minority communities and once autonomous regions which continued to preserve their traditions and culture. Ottoman attempts at modernization were stymied for decades and centuries by conse rvative elements within the religious, military, and political establishment. Economic models and practices inherited from the earlier Byzantine Empire prevented the introduction of free markets or enterprise. Likewise, the British Empire's shift from spanning the world to remaining the symbolic head of the Commonwealth had its roots lain in the preceding century of global domination by the British army and navy. With colonies around the world, and military bases supporting formal and informal empire a like, the export of goods, education, culture and religion, combined with the culture at home supported the effort necessary to maintain one of the largest and furthest
Smith 3 spread empires of the modern era. This thesis is an examination of political, social, and economic factors, and their interactions with each other, central to the decline of the Ottoman and British Empires. Although the evolution of each empire is examined, the focus is firmly on the perceived twilight of each. While this period of declin e does stretch out over many centuries in the case of the Ottomans, it is necessary to examine aspects of their gradual slide from domination of the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe to a crumbling dynasty surrounded by long past glories, riven by internal dissent, betrayal, political unrest, and outside enemies. Merely focusing on the events immediately leading to the collapse of the sultanate and the rise of Ataturk would do a disservice to Empire, and fail to offer an understanding of the tru e nature of the decline. Ataturk's rise to power came only after centuries of lesser upheaval failed to effectively move the moribund Turkish state into the modern era. The failures of the sultanate, and not the successes of Ataturk, are the focus. Simi larly, the dissolution of the British Empire cannot be understood merely by examining the push for Indian independence, or the rapid decolonization of Africa in the twentieth century. These were the products of prevailing cultural and social issues long a t work within British culture. Transformative individuals such as Ataturk and Gandhi were creations of their settings, and the creation of those circumstances is far more telling in understanding the decline of empires. of the Great Powers to an equation regarding industrial output and economic health may not offer a fully fleshed
Smith 4 reality of past empires. While these measurements may provide evidence of decline and predict a coming fall, they do not fully explain the pa rticulars of each Empire, or the intricacies of their ends. Ultimately, it is a combination of the interplay of many factors and the resulting variables that influence the fortunes of an empire. Reliance upon solely statistical measures does not capture the equally important mood and desires of a people. Similarly, the three motivators of British imperial recruitment, God, gold, and glory kept the army's ranks filled and British culture, language and education flowing into the far flung colonial empire. In the case of both the Ottoman and British Empires the role of the people is a necessary component in understanding the decline of the empire, as changing attitudes and modernizing reforms reduced the popular support for the survival of each empire. W hile Kennedy's theory of imperial overstretch with relative economic decline is a useful metric for understanding signs and warnings of weakness in a nation, it does not move beyond what this thesis sees as merely the symptoms of declining power. An empir e is a collection of people and cultures, without the support of which political unity and social control is impossible. The Ottoman Empire weakened and disintegrated due to the inability of Ottoman reforms to create a shared national identity, while the British colonies chose independence over imperial rule in the twentieth century. Amidst rising nationalism and growing equality the will of Ottoman citizens to align with neighboring powers and British colonials to seek independence were the causes of dec olonization and the ends of empire.
Smith 5 Fall of the House of Osman When set against many of its competitors, the Ottoman Empire is a curious case of a great power. Virtually no major power in Europe created an ethnically and religiously heterogeneous societ y in the manner of the Ottomans, nor was there a European empire equal to the territory claimed by the Ottomans at the height of their power until the apogee of the British Empire. With territory stretching from Algiers in North Africa to the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea in the east, to the outskirts of Vienna, the Ottomans supplanted Roman control of the Mediterranean Sea, copying much of ancient Rome's territory in the east. From 1299 to 1923 the Ottomans saw their empire rise and fall, growing from just one of many Turkish dynasties in Anatolia to the conqueror of the Byzantine Empire, rising in power and prestige until the seventeenth century and the beginning of territorial losses and dynastic decline. By the turn of the twentieth century the Ott oman Empire had been badly shaken by military defeats, internal dissent, and poorly conceptualized and implemented modernizing reforms. Despite the comparatively enlightened approach taken by the Ottomans towards non Muslims, there was a strong conservati ve tradition within Ottoman policies and practices. It would be this social and intellectual force in Ottoman culture which would impede the economic, social, and military reforms necessary to restore the power of the Ottomans. Ultimately, it would not b e military defeats or economic decline which would bring down the Ottoman Empire, but a bottom up loss of confidence in the ability empire to protect the best interests of the people. Rising tides of
Smith 6 nationalism and patriotism were sweeping across Europe and the pluralistic, territorially expansive empire was unable to harness that energy to its own ends. By examining the development of a conservative society focused upon a perceived historical apex through the economic and military history of the Ottoman Empire reveals a great deal of information about social, political, and intellectual paths which transformed the nigh Economic Foundations The Ottoman Empire can trace its origins back to nomadic t ribes of the Asian steppes, a lifestyle which carried over following their arrival in Anatolia. Raiding and the division of booty were a significant part of the early economy, but physical loot was only part of the gain. The Ottomans were masters at abso rbing the ideals and institutions of conquered regions and governments. This ensured stability and peace after a conquest, and allowed the Ottoman government to remain focused on warfare and empire building, while the details of governing were simply take n from the defeated bureaucracy. The Ottoman economy grew in a similar manner, with heavy Byzantine influences upon the creation of the imperial Ottoman economic model. Given the general lack of early Ottoman economic records, it is necessary to examine Byzantine economic records to understand the underlying weaknesses of the later Ottoman economy. The Byzantine Empire was culturally complex with regards to money. Much like its fallen Western counterpart, the Eastern Roman Empire possessed a mixture o f command and market economies. Governmental edicts and laws
Smith 7 restricted the potential profit in many transactions, with an eye to maintaining hand the Byzantine Empire extol led the Christian virtues of self sufficiency and trustworthiness, on the other it also acknowledged the secular benefits of profit, investment, and negotiation. This grew out of the cultural views of early Christianity which survived through strengths an d weaknesses of economic institutions, including trade, revenue gathering, taxation, and investment, all carrying over into later Ottoman systems. While there is now only fragmentary evidence remaining of the economic policies of the Byzantine Empire, Ang eliki Laiou offers a collection which draws upon the Byzantium regulatory Book of the Eparch (9 th 11 th centuries), the writings of Emperor Romanos I (10 th century), and a canon loosely attributed to Patriarch Nikephoros of Constantinople (9 th century). T he prevailing theme through all of the sources is the notion that there existed a just level of profit for all transactions, as evidenced by Nikephoros's [alleged] canon which placed acceptable profit at 10%. Though Laiou points out whether this [was] calculated on the purchase price or on the profits would have been extremely slim, making the latter more likely. 1 Nikephoros's canon should not be consid ered mere moralizing. Nikephoros was 1 The Economic History of Byzantium: From the Seventh Through Fifteenth Century ed. Angelik i E. Laiou (Washington, D.C.: Dumberton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2002), 1135.
Smith 8 Patriarch but his upbringing and early career were entirely secular, serving in the imperial government. Prior to his elevation to the Patriarchy, Nikephoros had administered a great hospital for the destitute in Const antinople. 2 His combined experience in governmental, private, and charitable aspects of Byzantine life gave him a unique perspective balanced between the demands of the government and the needs of the population. The Book of the Eparch was far more specif ic, as it included the rates of profit allotted to guilds in Constantinople, specifically the butchers, fishermen, bakers and grocers. These were not price fixing measures, merely profit fixing. The exception was in the case of wine, which was to have a price negotiated between the Eparch and tavern keepers. Even in this case however, the accepted price of wine was to be based upon the purchase price, again fixing the permitted profits. Laiou summarizes the effect of the Book of the Eparch the general idea is clear: maximizing profits by taking full advantage of the forces of 3 The final fragmentary bit of economic evidence offered by Laiou is writings which lay out the acceptable sale o f lands after a famine greatly reduce the population: [I]f the sale price of land acquired after the famine was less than half the just value, the sale was annulled and the buyer lost the money he had paid. If the sale price was not quite that low but neve rtheless resulted in great harm to the seller, the sale was still annulled, although the buyer had the 2 The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 11. (N ew York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911) 18 Sept. 2011.
Smith 9 right to recover the money he had paid. 4 By restricting the sale price of land after a famine or other population loss, property values did not decline in the same way they did following similar of the land, the state mandated stabilization of value and price prevented both the potential of greater profits through supply and demand, in addition to preventing market corrections to occur in the wake of disasters, both natural and man made. Similar to the price stabilization of land, the Book of the Epach also included similar protections for laborers. In the case that laborers should discover that their wages were less than the just wages, they could annul their contract while the government evaluated the pertaining just value and just wages. Should the laborers be wrong about the just wage, then their contract was to be reins tated. If the government sided with the laborers the contract would remain annulled, and they would receive the difference in their missing wages. This method of stabilizing the economy allowed for increased social and economic justice in Byzantine society but also limited the economic possibilities of skilled merchants. Potential methods for increasing personal profit were reduced to just one: increasing volume. While this succeeded for a time unwillingness to allow the economy to follow the market u ltimately limited Byzantine and later Ottoman, economic growth and dynamism. Although economic restraints slowly 4 ibid 1134.
Smith 10 disappeared after 1000 AD as the Byzantine Empire crumbled, those state mandated restrictions upon profit remained in the public consciousness. Contracts from following centuries would include waivers of rights to fair value, 5 The Byzantine tax system, later adopted by the Ottomans, primarily took advantage of the trade flowing th rough the Empire, by both land and sea, and through taxes on the peasantry. The first, through trade, required the maintenance of peaceful relationships with their neighbors, as the Byzantines did not possess the large merchant fleets of many of their con temporaries. It was far more profitable for the Byzantines to tax trade goods that were passing through from the eastern reaches of Asia to the kingdoms of western Europe as caravans could be taxed at multiple points along their routes Despite the prese nce of trade in the Byzantine economy and tax base, an inherited Roman bias against trade meant that little attention was paid to the specifics of the market in Byzantine chronicles. A 10% tax on all goods flowing through customs posts on the frontier was standard throughout the Empire; thousands of surviving seals of imperial customs officials illustrate the state's acknowledgment of the value of taxing trade, if not the virtue in the act of trade itself. 6 This blend of command and market economies prove d to function well through the end of the first millennium. As central authority, security, and legal enforcement declined the market was able to play an increasing role in setting 5 Laiou, 1134. 6 Judith Herrin, Byzantium (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), 149.
Smith 11 prices, wages, and interest rates. However, by the time of the Ottoman co nquest there remained a system of land ownership and taxation from the Byzantines. Early records of the Ottoman Empire include land and tax registries pre dating the conquest of Constantinople, suggesting that Byzantine taxes and property rights carried o ver to Ottoman rule. 7 The second influence upon the later Ottoman economy was the economic boon brought by raids and wars. Though the exact early history of the Ottomans is lost to time, the most likely case is that they originated in the displaced peopl es of western Asia who arrived in the Middle East and Asia Minor as nomads fleeing the Mongol conquest. Given the general subsistence level existence most nomadic groups experience, it was necessary to supplement their income with the spoils of frequent, if not annual, raiding and war parties. The few records that remain from the first millennium of Turkish raiding parties show these economically advantageous efforts as a sign of things to come for the Ottoman Empire. Additionally, it lent legitimacy to later corsair kings, particularly to the pirates of the Barbary Coast, and the kingdoms that grew around them. Although practices of raiding and the division of booty likely began long before the Turkish arrival in Asia Minor, with the adoption of Islam the traditions of tithing and booty division became engrained in both culture and religion. Dating back to the Umayyad Caliphate, and based historically upon the honor 7 Halil Inalcik, The Ottoman Empi re; Conquest, Organization and Economy, (London: Variorum Reprints, 1978), 237.
Smith 12 due to Muhammad, it was expected that one fifth of booty won in raids and military cam paigns would be tithed to the royal treasury. 8 This early reliance upon the influx of booty following military campaigns would later prove disastrous for the Ottomans as their economic and taxation systems failed to adapt to the realities of fixed border s and the end of territorial expansion. Thus, to understand the economic history of the Ottoman Empire it is important to consider their economic origins. Given the Turkish preference for social and economic continuity over upheaval in the wake of conque st, the economic background of both the Byzantine Empire and the early nomadic Turkish tribes are a necessity to understanding the subsequent Ottoman economy. Though few records of the Turks survive from the first millennium, in the following centuries th ey became a rising power in Asia Minor, and more records of their trade and dealings with neighbors and enemies survived allowing for a greater understanding of their history. As for the Byzantines, their economic history points to a preference for stabil ity and tradition over economic development and experimentation. This stable, but slowly growing, economic model would be adopted by the Ottomans, and have long reaching effects through the history of Byzantium's conqueror. Rise of the Turks The Ottoman Empire experienced a meteoric rise in power and prestige during the eleventh through the fourteenth centuries. In 1000 A.D. Ottoman 8 P.M. Holt, Ann K.S. Lambton and Bernard Lewis, The Cambridge History of Islam: Volume I, The Central Islamic Lands (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 65.
Smith 13 ancestors were nomadic tribesmen in the Asian steppes; five hundred years later they had crushed the remains of the Byzanti ne state and come to rule one of the largest empires in the history of the earth from their throne in Constantinople; the Sublime Porte. During that time, the Ottomans fled Asia ahead of the Mongol hordes, settled in Anatolia, founded a dynastic power, ac hieved rapid territorial expansion, and conquered Constantinople. The emerging Ottoman economy set levels of taxation and developed a systematic economic concept that took advantage of their central location in global trade as well as the flow of ideas an d technology through their lands, thus developing a system of revenue that both borrowed from and innovated upon former Byzantine systems. The House of Osman found itself in a very advantageous location within the domains of the Mongolian Il Khans of Pers ia (Ilkhanid Dynasty). The last Seljuk sultan, the vassal ruler of Anatolia under the Persian Ilkhanids died in 1302 as Ilkhanid control and interest in the region waned. Anatolia shattered into dozens of states, ruled by beys 9 The decline of Constantinople and the Byzantines' turn toward the West, combined with the end of the Seljuk sultanate and the receding control of the Ilkhanid Dynasty, allowed for a lawless borderland to grow in western Anatolia. In the middl e of these unclaimed regions were the House of Osman's tribal lands; it was in this power vacuum that Osman I (1258 1324) and his descendents would gain glory, power, and an empire. 9 Colin Imber, The Ottoman Empire, 1300 1650: The Structure of Power, (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2002), 7
Smith 14 There are few surviving records of markets and trade relations in Anato lia throughout Osman's lifetime; nevertheless enough exists to provide a consideration of economic conditions. Turkish tribes in Anatolia were not functioning at subsistence levels of agriculture despite being recently settled nomadic people. Instead, the re appears to have been a network of trade and social interaction on the borders of the Seljuk and Byzantine lands. Surpluses of and affirm ties of friendship. 10 Osman was a master diplomat, forming networks of trade, social obligation, friendship, and economically advantageous warfare. Anatolia was divided between roughly twenty emirates and tribal lands, offering numerous opportunities to develop trade and social ties to ne ighboring rulers and administrators. 11 Free from the control of more powerful neighbors, the early Ottomans were able to pursue political and economic ties with their neighbors, laying the foundations for the territorial expansion out of Anatolia. Turkish tribes, including the Ottomans, began to build monumental mosques, a symbolic departure from the nomadic ways of their ancestors. The oldest surviving Ottoman mosque at Iznik, inscribed with a date of 1333 4, dates from the rule of Osman's son, Orhan (r. 1324 1361), and was begun three decades after surrounding dynasties began similarly monumental mosques. These monuments were essential to Turkish expansion and would awe and impress surrounding peoples, gaining the Turkish tribal chieftains followers and power. 10 Karen Barkey, Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 48. 11 Barkey, 55.
Smith 15 These grand structures demonstrated that early Turkish dynasties had no intention of remaining semi nomadic tribes, instead desiring from an early point to expand their power and territory. Again there are early hints of the acumen of the Ottomans monumental architecture would be used throughout their reign to intimidate and legitimize their rule throughout the Empire. In 1288 Osman publicly asserted his independent authority by having his name replace those of the Seljuk and Ilkhanid rulers typ ically honored in the Friday prayers. 12 Between 1330 and 1337, one of the early rivals to Osman and his son, Orhan was Umur Bey. The differences between Umur and the early like th eir leader, Umur Bey's warriors were interested in war primarily as a means to obtain booty and slaves, and left land depopulated and devastated. Osman took a longer perspective in waging war. In the case of territorial gains he was able to entice displac ed peoples to return to their homes and resume 13 Osman and Orhan would leave raided lands in far better conditi on than competing warlords, making vassals of the conquered and ensuring their future safety and security. From these early years of the Ottoman Empire would grow the great myth of the Empire. The enduring foundation myth was one of holy war, an unending 12 Han The Last Great Muslim Empires: History of the Muslim World. Ed. Bertold Spuler. (Princeton: Markus Weiner Publishers, 1999), 3. 13 Halil Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age, 1300 1600, (London: Variorum Reprints, 1978), 7.
Smith 16 gaza against infidels. By the sixteenth century the image of the Sultan as gazi or holy warrior, was firmly entrenched in the beliefs of both the people and their rulers. The gaza should not be confused with a war of annihilation, however. From the ea rliest days of Ottoman expansion religious and ethnic pluralism was a component of Ottoman rule. Holy War was not to destroy or even convert non synonymous with conversion. Mi nority faiths Orthodox, Catholic, Coptic, and Armenian Christians as well as Jews enjoyed special status and protections found nowhere else in Europe. It was common knowledge throughout the Byzantine Empire that Orthodox Christians could find far bett er treatment under Muslim Ottoman rule than under Christian rule. Byzantine acceptance of Ottoman conquest played an important part in the growth of the early Ottoman Empire. The absorption of conquered peoples into the empire was one of the great dynami c influences for the ease of rapid expansion. Conquered peoples enjoyed a high standard of living despite being of different religious or ethnic backgrounds. 14 Though Umur Bey was able to gather more material wealth for himself and his warriors initially, the Ottomans built an empire while Umur Bey remained a raider. The Ottoman approach to foreign policy and inclusive domestic policy was rewarded in 1346 when the Byzantine Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos married his daughter Theodora to Orhan. 15 Further Eur opean 14 Barkey, 51. 15 Imber, 9.
Smith 17 ties came in 1352, when the Italian city state of Genoa offered financial aid and economic ties to the Ottomans in exchange for military aid against Venice. 16 The social and political ties forged by Ottomans granted them ever increasing regional powe r A ligning themselves with the Byzantines further strengthened these links. P lacing political and diplomatic relations with infidels over raiding allowed Osman and his descendents to reap rich rewards from their inclusive domestic policy, making the Ott omans the most powerful Turkish tribe in Anatolia. The dynamism of the early Ottoman economic system was created by the fruitful raiding opportunities offered by the declining Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines were increasingly turning their attention to Europe, allowing their cities, towns, and fortresses on the eastern side of the Bosporus to fall into disrepair, under supplied, and poorly prepared for war. Though the Ottomans initially lacked the military tactics and technology to engage in prolonged s ieges of major towns or cities, they experienced great success in raiding smaller settlements and trade routes. 17 This raiding economy allowed not only for the economic growth of the Ottomans, but also for the recruitment of additional warriors, merchants, dervishes, and townspeople for a growing principality. The other great dynamic influence on the early Ottoman economy was location; northwest Anatolia was close to the receding limit of Byzantine control, giving the Ottomans control of trade lines and ca ravan routes. This would become even more meaningful after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, but 16 Bernard Lewis, The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2000 Years, (New York: Scribner, 1995), 108. 17 Imber, 9.
Smith 18 first Ottoman power would be consolidated in both the European Balkans and Asian Anatolia by Osman's descendents. Although Anatolia remained a broken l and, splintered by rebellion, discord, and brigandage for much of Ottoman history, the political unification of the land and the defeat of rival Turkish beys allowed the Ottomans to consolidate power and ease the flow of trade through their lands. As trav el through Ottoman lands become safer, traffic increased, supplying the Ottoman treasury with greater tariff revenue. During this early phase of Ottoman expansion the timar system became the foundation of both their territorial gains and their cavalry. W hereas the Janissary Corps became the elite infantry, it was the timar land grants and s ipahi nobles that provided the elite cavalry. Similar to Christian feudalism, timars were granted to warriors and nobles as neighboring lands were brought into the Ott oman order. This was not a Muslim order and many timar holders remained Christian. 18 Receipt of a timar was an acknowledgment of one's service to the Sultan and established a local overseer in newly conquered lands responsible for both the oversight of the land and the recruitment of soldiers from it. Unlike the feudal system timars were not wholly hereditary possessions, as only a tiny portion of one would pass to the holder's son. 19 This often resulted in local rule that greatly differed from Ottoman gen eral policy if there is no long term interest in developing the wealth of a region so that one's children can profit from it, then one will extract as much profit and wealth from it as quickly as 18 Inalcik The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age, 13 14. 19 John Patrick Douglas Balfour Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1977), 152.
Smith 19 possible. As a result, many timar holders resembled the a varicious rule of Umur Bey, rather than the benevolence of Osman and Orhan. Although this poor governance was not the rule, it was common through Ottoman history and a consistent barrier to economic development. It is an historical axiom that those at th e crossroad of the world prosper. For the following few centuries, Ottoman lands were the center of the world. The Silk Roads, still the conduit for luxurious and exotic goods, technology, and ideas from the East and West, flowed through Asia Minor and A natolia. After the Ottomans established control of the Bosporus under the leadership of Sultan Mehmed II (r. 1444 46, 1451 1481) and seized Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman Empire became the middlemen of the world. They would grow rich off of trade and tariffs, and take advantage of the ideas and inventions carried by merchants, renegade craftsmen, and mercenaries. The religious differences between Muslim Ottomans and Christian Europe ans are often seen as an impediment to Ottoman expansion in continent al Europe. However, this view ignores the already existing divisions within Christian Europe. These divisions primarily included the gulf between the Catholic kingdoms of Western and Central Europe, and the Greek Orthodox Church in Byzantium with its vass al kingdoms in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. As diplomatic and economic ties increased between Ottoman and Byzantine emperors and Greek Orthodox settlers were immigrating to Ottoman lands, a concept of the Ottoman Empire as a protector of the Greek Orth odox
Smith 20 tradition came into being. 20 As the Ottomans won over Greek Orthodox peasants and nobles they were also strengthening their own cultural and economic base in conquered and capitulated kingdoms. Massive relocation efforts were undertaken, sometimes fo rcibly, moving Muslim nomads from Anatolia to recently conquered lands in the Balkans. Such relocations were common as early as Orhan I's rule, with Christians being resettled in Anatolia, and nomadic Muslims sent to the Balkans. 21 By relocating the recent ly conquered in the heart of Ottoman culture and territory and replacing them with Muslim Turks, the Ottomans were able to encourage cultural interconnections and pacification Christians on the borders might feel protected in an uprising by neighboring c oreligionists ; removed from Christian kingdoms any chance at such protection was removed. These relocations were even more pronounced after the fall of Armenians and Muslims from Anato lia; and Greeks from the Morea, Izmir, and 22 These groups both served to repopulate the city and provided a diversified economic base as Constantinople reclaimed its status as an imperial city. Later, as Jewish populations found themselves exile d from many western kingdoms, the Ottomans welcomed them throughout the Empire. The embrace of cultural and religious diversity by the Ottoman Empire greatly benefited the growing empire. Additionally, the autocratic ability of the 20 Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age, 13. 21 ibid 123. 22 Barkey, 129.
Smith 21 sultan to move populat ions about the empire by edict allowed for the pacification and cultural assimilation of newly conquered or settled peoples. Moving a city's worth of discontented Christians across the empire could defuse potential rebellions without requiring the use of force and the destruction of property and people. By bringing in new ideas, skills, and peoples, while finding peaceful solutions to rebellions and encouraging the assimilation of non Ottomans, the sultans were able to better build a stable society capabl e of supporting the needs of a government in a state of constant holy war. The Economy of Religious War By 1500 the Ottomans possessed one of the strongest and largest empires in the history of the world. The House of Osman had, in just over two hundred years, expanded from a minor territory in the hinterlands between the declining Byzantine Empire and the fading Seljuk Sultanate and their Ilkhanid lords into an Empire spanning three continents and controlling the greatest flow of trade from Asia to Europ e. The acceptance, even encouragement, of religious and ethnic pluralism throughout their conquests served to promote economic development, social stability, and the growth of Ottoman territories. Within these strengths, grew the origins of Ottoman decl ine. Ethnic and religious tolerance led to nationalist movements throughout the empire; control of the Silk Road spurred European exploration and the Portuguese discovery of a sea route to India, the beneficiaries of the timar system grew possessive of the ir privileges and became a stagnant force resisting military modernization, and the concept of the perpetual Holy War caused increased resistance to the importation
Smith 22 of non Muslim innovations and technology. The inability of the Ottoman Empire to address t hese challenges in a timely manner would ultimately prove to be its undoing. The mobilization of the Ottoman economy for war was a profound burden upon the economy of the empire. Whereas European powers typically levied new taxes and duties upon their vas sals, holdings, or citizens, taking advantage of the presence of a more pronounced market economy, the Ottomans leveraged the command economy to supply the necessary services and goods for the war effort. By the fifteenth century the ideological basis o f the Ottoman Empire as religious conquest was well established; the epic poem, Osman's Dream, and the depiction of early sultans as gazi created an Empire which believed, at both the lower and upper echelons, in religious war as the reason for the Ottoman state. 23 Consequently, the usage of the Ottoman economy as a component in a near constant cycle of military campaigns was a central facet in understanding Ottoman economic development. The command economy's delivery of goods and services to the Sultan an d his armies resulted in a far greater hindrance to the development of the Ottoman economy than the European systems of taxation in support of their war efforts. Demands for goods and services were repaid at low or no cost to the Sultan, eating heavily in to the finances of the most successful and efficient producers, on whom the demands fell most frequently. 24 This is in contrast to the proto capitalist model of western Europe, in which taxes were 23 Barkey, 31. 24 S Manufacturing in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, 1500 1950, ed. Donald Quataert, (Albany: SUNY Press, 1994), 17 18.
Smith 23 gathered by the crown, and then returned to the economy in the form of payments for goods and services. Unlike the proto capitalist system of taxation and repayment, the Ottomans economy became inversely affected by war. When taxes are collected and payments disbursed, a state will find that its economy's produc tion will boom during times of war, followed by a contraction as the state's need for weapons, supplies and services dries up in times of peace. For the Ottomans, with the state as the sole organizer of craft industries, there was a constriction of the co ntrolled economic production during war and expansion during peace. Generally, this cycle of boom and bust, inverted from the proto capitalism seen in western Europe, placed the Ottoman economy on equal footing to that of France and the Hapsburg Empire. 25 As a result of typically annual military campaigns, the best producers found themselves the unhappy suppliers of the Ottoman army and navy, reducing capital investment and discouraging innovation ahead of one's competitors. This policy contributed to a lack of innovation in Ottoman technology, causing the Ottoman military to slowly fall further and further behind the Christian armies artisans was the Ottoman military able to a void falling hopelessly behind the advances of the West. 26 25 Faroqhi, 18 26 This reliance on upon Christian converts to Islam in Janissary and government leadership. The borrowing of existing tax and law structures, however, should not be confused with these; Ottoman conqu est was often concerned with a smooth transition to their control, and sought to
Smith 24 the technological borrowing and the central role of Christian converts to Islam in the Janissary Corps and governmental administration. On e of the best known, if least effective, example of this borrowing of skilled Christian craftsmen came in the years leading to the conquest of Constantinople; the Hungarian gunfounder Orban (Urban) designed massive bombards and siege cannons for the Ottoma n army. Orban had first offered his services and designs to the Byzantine Empire, but by the fifteenth century the Byzantine throne was unable to afford the salary he demanded. The expansionist Ottomans, under Mehmed II, were eager to purchase Orban's se rvices. Although the guns were extremely slow to reload, prone to catastrophic failures (in fact, Orban himself was killed by an exploding cannon during the siege), and inaccurate, they are a clear and representative example of the Ottoman eagerness to ab sorb western technologies at the time. 27 Similar technological advances can be seen following the defeat at Lepanto (1571) with the adoption of Venetian style galleasses and the greater focus on naval cannons; even the shipyards and foundries that enabled the rapid rebuilding of the Ottoman fleet in 1571 2 were copies of the Venetian Arsenal, built by Venetian craftsmen. The Ottoman economy functionally bifurcated into separate command and market economies. The former constituted the economic machinery for war: the construction of cannon, ships, muskets, armor and fortifications; services in repair and oversight; and the supply of food. The command half of the economy minimize cultural and social disruption. 27 J.F.C. Fuller, A Military History of the Western World: From the Earliest Times to the Battle of Lepanto, (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company Inc., 1954), 509 10.
Smith 25 provision 28 The latter segment of the Ottoman economy was where the majority of people made their living, farming, manufacturing, or providing services to their neighbors and merchants. 29 The market economy of the empire was more c oncerned with profit, loss, and economic expansion. Capital investment in either part of the economy was risky, both due to weak property rights and the risk of falling into the command economy, should one become too efficient, productive, or profitable. The weakness of Ottoman property rights is evident in the example of Ali Pasha at the Battle of Lepanto. One of the highest ranked and regarded men in the Ottoman Empire, Ali Pasha was the Kapudan Pasha (Grand Admiral) of the Mediterranean. After his de feat and death at Lepanto a treasure of 140,000 gold sequins was found aboard his galley, the bulk of his personal wealth. 30 If the Kapudan Pasha could not trust that his gold would be safe within the Empire in his absence, could minor bureaucrats and smal l landowners have greater faith in the security of their own property and investments? 31 Contributing to the lack of guaranteed property rights was the importance 28 Faroqhi, 18. 29 ibid 35. 30 Fuller, 560. 31 It is possible that Ali Pasha kept this treasure with him in the event of a mutiny by his men or fleet. The Mediterranean region frequently saw rebellions and mutinies at this time, even by the Janissaries. However, given the size of the treasure in question it would not explain the need for so much gold. Regardless, the lack of non court histories from this period make knowing the motives of generals and governors rather difficult In the absence of conflicting evidence, it seems most likely that Ali Pasha brought this treasure with him to protect it personally.
Smith 26 of slaves in the government of the Ottoman Empire. Given limits on profitability and the ris k of losing a successful commercial venture to the demands of the Ottoman war machine, the easiest route to wealth and influence was through government service. Until the destruction of the Janissary Corp in 1826, the majority of government officials were promoted and retired soldiers. The central detail of this system was that the Janissaries were, legally, the slaves of the Sultan. Despite not being chattel slavery, all that the Janissaries possessed was legally the property of the Sultan, and he could claim it at any time. Retired Janissaries filled bureaucratic positions throughout the empire; palace officials began their careers as young pages selected from amongst the Janissary Corps, and viziers and grand viziers were selected from amongst the p alace officials. The majority of influence and wealth was accrued by those in positions of complete subservience to the Sultan and had no property rights attached to it. While there were checks on the power of the Sultan in claiming it, as is illustrated by the endless series of Janissary revolts and rebellions, the risk of losing one's wealth while away was great enough to cause the Kapudan Pasha to bring his vast fortune with him on campaign, and lesser officials were in similar doubt regarding the secu rity of their own wealth. Further limiting investment was the risk attached to it. In the sixteenth century few private individuals had the capital available for meaningful investment in emerging industries, the kadis (local administrators and judges) we re able to offer loans to guilds and individuals benefiting the economy and advancing their craft The risk of falling into the wartime command economy,
Smith 27 and the accompanying likelihood of non payment from the government, increased the risk of default on t he loan, in which case the issuing kadi was responsible for the outstanding balance. One of the few centralized efforts to promote capital investment came during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520 1566). Under Suleiman the risk of investment was removed from the kadi and taken up by the government as part of the cost of business. 32 It should be remembered, however, that the primary business of the Ottoman Empire was holy war, and not profit the primary goal of these loans was to support the Ottoman military, and not to develop the local economy. The weaknesses of the Ottoman economic structure would not become clear for some time; even as they were weakening their economy and destroying its future potential, their armies were nigh unstoppabl e in Eastern Europe. Even as the tide began to turn, first at the Battle of Lepanto (1571), and later elsewhere in Austria and Hungary, the blame was given to divine providence, and insufficient faith amongst the Ottomans. When news of Lepanto reached Su ltan 33 This creates an interesting dual series of beliefs, for as the chronicles ascribe the defeat to divine will, Uluc Ali and th e Ottoman Arsenal were already copying the design of the Venetian galleasses which had carried the day for the Catholic League at Lepanto. The attribution of events to divine providence proved a hindrance to Ottoman development, both 32 Faroqhi, 34. 33 Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire: Conquest, Organization and Economy, IX 191
Smith 28 economic and intellec tual, just as the enshrined founding myth of the Ottoman Empire as an unending gazi or holy war, limited its options for diplomacy and peace. The demands of the Sultan through the command economy stifled innovation, progress, and capital investment in th e Ottoman Empire at a time when technological innovation was pushing Western Europe ahead of its competitors. The Ottomans were able to keep pace with Western European advances for a time, relying upon western craftsmen and inventors, but the economic out lay necessary from the government to borrow and steal technology exceeds that required by allowing a market economy to create advances organically. Ultimately the increased cost, relative to Western Europe, would prove unsustainable. The vast wealth and resources of the Ottoman Empire kept them in military competition with their neighbors far longer than their economic policy would have otherwise allowed. Modernizing reforms in the Western European model would be instituted most notably the Tanzimat Ref orms beginning in 1839, but these came at least two hundred years after the apex of Ottoman power. Ottoman Military Power Before 1571 the Ottoman military was seen as an unstoppable force in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. Land defeats were rare, wh ile naval Empire, appeared able to strike at will, inflicting heavy defeats upon Christian forces from the islands of the Mediterranean to the plains of Eastern Europe.
Smith 29 Tripo li had been captured from the Knights of Malta in 1551, Corsica was captured by the French Ottoman alliance in 1553, 1560 at the Battle of Djerba saw a crushing defeat of a combined Catholic fleet near Tripoli, and Ottoman advancement towards Vienna was on ly halted in 1566 by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent's death during the siege of Szigetvar. The one notable Christian victory in recent memory was that of the Siege of Malta (1565), and the successful defense of the island by the Knights of Malta against an Ottoman fleet. In 1571, with the Ottoman navy continuing to threaten the western Mediterranean, establishing an East Asian military presence in Sumatra, and continuing to disrupt trade throughout the Mediterranean, the balance of power appeared to be d ramatically shifting towards the Ottomans. Despite its appearance, the balance of power was not nearly as unequal as it might first appear, and the Battle of Lepanto was far less meaningful to the Empire than one might originally think. Instead of a pivo tal turning point in the Mediterranean balance of power, it was merely a final note in the Ottoman Catholic struggles for supremacy before their Mediterranean navies settled into a somewhat stable balance. A central event in the histories of the Ottoman E mpire and its Christian enemies, the battle was a disaster for the Ottoman forces. Fewer than forty of the roughly 250 Ottoman vessels escaped. Uluj Ali, the lone surviving Ottoman admiral, escaped with twenty of his galleys and collected the balance of scattered survivors as he sailed to Byzantium to report the defeat to Sultan Selim II, Suleiman the Magnificent's son. Despite the Christian perception of an invincible Ottoman navy, the
Smith 30 Ottomans themselves did not see their navy in the same light. Despi te some world and Noah's construction of the first ship no such disaster had been similar ligh t. 34 In fact, Lutfi Pasha, the grand vizier to Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520 previous sultans there were many who ruled the land, but few who ruled the sea. In the conduct of war at se a the infidels are superior to us. We must overcome 35 The reality of the naval situation was one of unequal innovation. Though the Ottoman Empire possessed vast raw materials, an enormous supply of gold, an extensive population with the power to re locate villages and reallocate labor, and an advanced bureaucracy, the Turks lacked homegrown technological innovation. The enormous Arsenal at Byzantium for the construction of ships and cannon was modeled on the Venetian Arsenal. Ottoman galleys were c opies of Venetian and Genoese designs, just as older Ottoman ships had been based upon Byzantine models. The skilled craftsmen overseeing production and design for Ottoman weapons of war were often European Christians. This reliance upon the technologica l innovations of the West for modernizing their own galleys left the Ottoman fleet several years behind those of the Catholic League. While this had made little difference in the past, a number of innovations in galley design 34 Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire: Conquest, Organization and Economy, IX 191 35 Rudolf Tschudi, Das Asafname des Lutfi Pasha (Berlin, 1910), 32 3, quoted in Bernard Lewis, The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years (New York: Scribner, 1995), 116.
Smith 31 and armament, inspired by the larger galleons of the Atlantic Ocean were made just prior to the battle at the insistence of the Spanish admiral, Don Juan, leaving the Ottomans at a technological disadvantage. 36 Additionally, Ottoman naval power was primarily wielded through piracy, r aids, and the support of sieges; the navy was ill prepared for a direct confrontation with a heavily armed and well prepared European navy. Previous pitched battles had favored the better prepared fleet, as seen in the Ottoman victory at Djerba over a dim inished and sickly Christian fleet, and during the Christian recapture of Tunis in 1535 from the forces of Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha. In the case of Lepanto, it was the Ottoman fleet that was sorely unprepared for battle. While galleys were capable war vessels from spring through autumn on the calm waters of the Mediterranean, the rougher conditions during winter proved too much for the narrow galleys, forcing them to winter in safe ports until the spring returned with calmer seas. By October, 1571, the Ottoman fleet had seen no sign of the ships of the Catholic League; the chronicler Ali recorded: The fleet cruised for a long time on the sea. No one appeared. The Ottomans believed that the Christians lacked the courage to meet them. The winter approached The corsairs and Begs [Beys] of the coastal provinces asked the Porte for permission to return home. Thus the army there disintegrated. 37 The Ottoman fleet had departed from Byzantium very early in the spring of 1571, beginning a lengthy voyage through the Eastern and Central Mediterranean, 36 Victor Davis Hanson, Carnag e and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power (New York: Anchor Books, 2001), 246 7. 37 Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire; Conquest, Organization and Economy IX 190.
Smith 32 destroyed a number of fortresses and performed dozens of raids. By the autumn the Ottoman crews were exhausted and ready to winter; during some of the final battles land forces deserted and melted away. 38 By the time the Sultan's order to face the Christian forces in battle were received, enough of the Ottoman troops had deserted or returned home that commanders were forced to raise stop gap crews and troops from local garrisons and the civilian population, soldiers l acking training, experience, and equipment equal to the departed forced. The aftermath of the Battle of Lepanto is subject to much disagreement. It has been described as: the beginning of the end of Ottoman domination in the Mediterranean, a symbolic vic tory shattering the aura of Ottoman invincibility, a minor victory the Christian forces failed to capitalize on, or largely meaningless, serving only to hasten a growing status quo. It is, for the most part, the latter. By 1571 there had already been a d ecline in military confrontation in the Mediterranean. The galleys which served as the primary vessel of both Christian and Ottoman forces had limited range, typically only ten to twenty days, restricted by the lack of storage for food and water. 39 As a r esult, maritime combat was typically limited to the pursuit of further advanced bases, staging areas for progressively longer range raids. Had the Ottomans succeeded in capturing Malta in 1565 they would have possessed a port within striking range of Span ish territory in the Western Mediterranean. Following Lepanto the 38 ibid IX 188. 39 Hanson, 240 (twenty days), Greene 109 (ten days)
Smith 33 Spanish Malta and Ottoman Tunis. 40 Furthermore, combat was increasingly risky the further a fleet moved away from its supporting ports. There had been great fear before Lepanto on the part of the Christian fleet that defeat, so far from a friendly port, would likely mean the complete loss of the fleet a scattered survivors were hunted down as on board supplies ran out. 41 Lepanto, with the overwhelming firepower of the Venetian galleasses, set new directions in naval warfare and guaranteed a technological focus on gunpowder over rams. The enormous weight of 16 th century cannon, even with the removal of the heavy ram from the prow of the ship, required ever increasing numbers of rowers for each vessel. Increases in manpower required commensurate increases in provisioning; from 1520 to 1590 the cost of provisioning a galley had risen from 20% to between 30% and 50% of the o verall cost of operation. 42 By the middle of the sixteenth century poor harvests and food shortages were common in western Anatolia, with supply problems reaching Byzantium itself. 43 With operating costs spiraling upwards, and maritime sieges proving less and less successful, the galley was fast approaching its end as a weapon of war by 1571. The rebuilt Ottoman fleet, commanded by Uluj Ali and launching within a year of the defeat at Lepanto illustrated this already were larger galleasses being copied f rom the Venetians, with galleys becoming 40 Molly Green The Early Modern Ottomans: Remapping the Empire. Eds. Virginia Aksan and Daniel Goffman, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 111. 41 Fuller, 570. 42 Greene, 110. 43 Halil Inalcik and Donald Quataert, eds., E conomic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, Volume 1: 1300 1600, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 184.
Smith 34 inconsequential. 44 The Catholic League's victory at Lepanto (1571) failed to check further Ottoman territorial gains in Eastern Europe; in the following seventeenth century the Ottomans continued to expand, reaching a high water mark in 1683 with the second failed siege of Vienna, followed by significant Ottoman concessions of Hungary, Transylvania, and Slavonia to the Hapsburgs. The seventeenth century ended with the Ottoman Empire badly shaken by the defeat in Ea stern Europe. More important, however, were the internal struggles to modernize military technology and adapt to the changing world. In some regards they were met with success, but in others, abject failure. The greatest technological shift of the centu ry was the increasing reliance upon firearms by Western European armies; massed volleys of muskets were devastating to Ottoman massed infantry, just as refinement of pike formations limited the effectiveness of the previously devastating s ipahi cavalry. R eforms to the Janissary Corps to match European firepower proved destabilizing to Ottoman economic, political, and social structures. Ottoman warfare had long relied upon individual skill and bravery in battle. This fit well with the institutional myth o f the Ottoman Empire as gaza (religious war), and had served the early empire well. Modernization of technology and tactics, however, effected a shift away from the individual and towards the unit. Superior firepower and massed infantry tactics proved de cisive at Lepanto, and as the seventeenth century progressed the Ottoman military was 44 Fuller, 577.
Smith 35 increasingly outmatched and out equipped. The Janissaries had long formed the backbone of the Ottoman military, a hardened professional force to support seasonal volunte ers and levies from the outer provinces. Technically slaves, the Janissaries were born Christians in the Balkans, recruited into the Janissary Corps as boys and converted to Islam to serve in the Sultan's army. Technically the property of the Sultan, Jan issaries had myriad opportunities to advance into governmental duties according to their merits, and would retire into bureaucratic duties if physically unable to continue their military service. The Corps was traditionally a closed order. The sons of Janissaries could never be Janissaries, as they were born Muslims, and in most cases the children of Janissaries were not legally recognized. Effectively, the Janissary Corps created a standing army loyal to the Sultan, with officers and government offici als who owed everything they had to the Sultan, and created a proving ground for ambition and talent in the service of the Empire. Ottoman attempts to counter the threat of European firearms transformed the Janissaries into a hotbed of political malconten t, open bribery, and incompetence. Even prior to the earliest reforms, the Janissaries formed a loose check upon the power of the Sultan; as the center of Ottoman battle lines, they were able to exert influence and shape policy while on the march. Sultan Selim I experienced this in 1514 when the Janissaries forced a return to central Ottoman lands in Anatolia for the winter. Selim I had just won a great victory over the Safavids in Azerbaijan; returning to Amasya from the Black Sea limited his ability
Smith 36 to consolidate his gains. As the closest military unit to the Sultan, on campaign and at Constantinople, the Janissaries were able to exert significant power over the Sultan without fear of involvement by lesser branches of the military. Selim II was subje ct to greater humiliations at the hands of his Janissaries, as he returned to the capital shortly after his elevation to the throne the Janissaries accompanying his procession refused to continue until they had received their full ascension donation. Trad ition dictated that upon a new sultan's ascension each Janissary would receive an increase in rank and a substantial monetary payment. Selim II had yet to pay the full amount, and so found his Janissary escort immobile, and the gates of his palace barred against him. The situation was resolved by his grand vizir, Sokullu Mehmed Pasha, and Selim's prompt capitulation to the demands of the Janissary Corps. Selim's capitulations were not merely monetary. With his accession in 1566 the soldiers of the Jan issary Corps also gained the right to marry, a decision which would quickly degrade the Corps and ruin the battlefield skill and morale of the Ottoman military elite. 45 The rules of the Janissaries, the Kavanin i Yenicheriyan stated: From time immemorial it has been unlawful for Janissaries to marry; only officers married and also private soldiers who were too old and definitely unfit for service and then only on application to the Sultan. The state of a Janissary is a state of celibacy, and for that reas on barracks were built for them. 46 45 Lewis, 124 125 46 Kavanin i Yenicheriyan cited in Bernard Lewis, The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2000 Y ears, 124.
Smith 37 The Janissary ideal was sole loyalty to the Sultan; familial ties and a life outside of the barracks weakened this. Selim's capitulation in allowing the Janissaries to marry opened the door to their sons entering the Ja nissary Corps. In 1568, only two years after soldiers were permitted to marry, Selim II authorized the admission of the sons of Janissaries into the order, suggesting that there had been a de facto acceptance of Janissary marriage prior to Selim's rule. These so Janissaries, and by 1592 were the majority of the Janissary Corps. 47 For much of the history of the Ottoman Empire, the Janissaries had been the face of the conquering Turk, or nately attired, highly skilled, well equipped, and devoted to the Ottoman cause. By the early seventeenth century, however, and sharp of eye, but only to discern the mo ment at which the sipahis began to 48 Their abject failure at the Siege of Choczim (1621), in both performance and willingness to fight, led Sultan Osman II to conclude that the power of the Janissaries had to be broken through the creation of a mixed Turkish, Kurdish, and mercenary army raised in the Asian and African portions of the Empire. Osman II (r. 1618 1622) came to the throne in 1618 at the age of 14 following the three month rule of his uncle, Mustafa I (r. 1617 1618, 1622 1623). Mustafa had ascended to the throne after the death of his brother, Ahmed I (r. 47 Lewis, 125. 48 Kinross, 292.
Smith 38 1603 1617), but was quickly removed from power due to mental instability and returned to confinement in the palace. Ahmed's eldest son, Osman, wa s raised to the throne and Mustafa locked back away in the palace Osman, though still an adolescent, was eager to restore the glory of his title and throne. A war against Poland was planned, and despite early victories ended in disgrace with the failed siege of Choczim. Between the political machinations of the Janissaries he had been subject to, and their poor battlefield performance, Osman II decided that the power of the Janissaries must be checked by loyal Turkish forces. For their part, the Janiss aries feared for their traditional rights and privileges, in addition to their new found political power. Further, the Janissary chronicler Tughi commented on the harsh treatment they received at the hands of the Sultan during the campaign against Poland, were guilty of a misdemeanor, such as being found in a tavern, they were flogged with four or five hundred strokes, put in stone ships for punishment, and their 49 In 1622, as Osman prepared to tra vel to Anatolia and begin raising his Turkish army, the Janissaries became suspicious and revolted. After Osman refused to execute his advisers, the Janissaries stormed the palace, imprisoning and executing the young Sultan. 50 This early attempt to curb t he power of the Janissaries failed, in part due to Osman's inexperience and young age. This was a recurring problem 49 Imber, 111. 50 Kissling, 36.
Smith 39 throughout Ottoman succession Ahmed I had broken with Ottoman tradition and allowed his brothers to live. Previously most sultans execute d any brothers upon ascendance to prevent civil war over succession; after Ahmed any claimants to the throne, including the sons of the sultan, were locked away in the palace. Though this did serve stabilize the empire, it prevented Ottoman princes from b uilding political ties or gaining any experience in governing and leadership. As a result, centuries of Ottoman sultans were at the mercy of the politically astute and connected harem, viziers, and the Janissaries. Attempts at Reform Murad IV attempted t o curb the power of the Janissaries by suspending the devsirme the levy on Balkan Christian boys. The levy was entirely abolished in 1683, though by that point it was merely a formality; the Janissary ranks had been open to any with the will and the coin to buy a place in the rapidly swelling order. From 1567 to 1680 the ranks of the Janissaries swelled, increasing from 12,798 to 54,222. 51 A great many of these new Janissaries were from well to do families seeking to secure a lucrative future for their s ons. Recruiting the sons of Janissaries and opening the ranks to any able to bribe their name on the rolls created a reactionary force eager to protect the status quo and their established, if now unearned, privileges. The fates of the sultans after Mura d IV demonstrate well the continued power and disloyalty of the Janissaries between 1640 and 1730 four of six sultans were deposed and imprisoned or executed. 51 Gabor Agoston, Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 26.
Smith 40 The Janissaries continued to decline in quality and battlefield effectiveness even as their ra nks and monetary demands grew. Their role in the rise and fall of sultans was unmatched; sultans could not take the throne without Janissary support, and vizirs could not depose them without it. Each made promises and concessions to the demands of the Ja nissary Corps in exchange for support during palace intrigues. Protracted wars against Austria strained the Ottoman military system, but territorial gains reassured those in power that their military remained effective. The Austro Ottoman War of 1736 17 39 required massive mobilization efforts, but the return of Belgrade to the Ottomans allowed continued belief in the effectiveness of the Janissaries. War with Russia broke out six times between 1768 and 1900; each time the Ottomans were forced to rely in creasingly upon religious, and multi 52 Subsequent attempts to reform the Janissaries were met with failure in 1807 and 1808. It would not be until 1826 that the power of the Janissaries would be broken, and the ancie nt order brought to an end. Selim III (r. 1789 1807) came to the throne amidst war with Austria and Russia; the resulting Treaty of Jassy (1792) saw the forfeiture of the Crimean Khanate by Selim to the Russian Emperor. The war with Austria and Russia la id bare the continuing degeneration of the Ottoman military, made all the more apparent by the rising power of Russia following Moscow's adoption of the 52 form and its Limits in a Shrinking Ottoman World, 1800 Early Modern Ottomans eds. Virginia H. Aksan and Daniel Goffman, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 119 120.
Smith 41 military model of Western Europe. With peace, a two pronged process of modernization began in the arme d forces. Initially Selim had intended to oversee a modernization of the Janissary Serbia and widespread resistance to inspection of membership rolls or adoption of new weapons e lsewhere combined to prevent meaningful reform, and by 1797 he had turned his desire for military modernization in a new direction; Selim ordered the clandestine recruitment of ethnic Turks and their training by Russian and German officers. 53 Having fail ed to modernize the Janissary Corps, Selim sought to rebuild the Ottoman military by creating a Nizam i Cedid armed, organized, and trained in the European model. Armed with musket and bayonet, the first of these troops acquitt ed themselves well at the siege of Acre against Napoleon's troops, in smaller conflicts with rebels, and against Janissaries led by dissident local rulers. 54 In 1797 there was merely one regiment numbering 2536 recruits, increasing to about 9000 in 1801 an d to roughly 25000 trained soldiers in 1807 at the end of Selim's reign. 55 The rapid increase in troop numbers is a testament to their effectiveness. levy to build an army capable of facing Russia. The levy specified that the 53 David B. Ralston, Importing the European Army: The Introduction of Eur opean Military Techniques and Institutions into the Extra European World, 1600 1914 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990) 50. 54 Kinross, 431. 55 Ralston, 50
Smith 42 Janissaries were included as well, and required to send their youngest and best attempting to enforce the levy were murdered, troops were massacred near the Danube, and protests arose among the Janissaries in Istanbul. Given the risk of revolt and civil war while in the midst of ps, dismiss his reformist advisers, and promote Janissaries into high office. 56 Selim's concessions to the reactionary Janissaries were identical to those of his predecessors and mollified them for a time, but when a Bosphorus battery garrison received ord ers to adopt European style uniforms and equipment in 1807, the delicate agreement between the sultan and his soldiers was broken. This time the reaction of the old guard could not be mollified. Reformers were executed as Selim scrambled to stay ahead of the situation, again choosing capitulation over a fight for the future of the Ottoman Empire. Rather than order his remaining Nizam i Cedid to battle the Janissaries, a battle they could very whereupon they were hunted down and murdered by Janissary forces. Selim III was forced, in the face of the legal opinion of the ulema that his reforms violated both Islam and Ottoman tradition, to abdicate the throne in favor of Mustafa IV; the deposed Su ltan was imprisoned within the harem. 57 Selim III failed to reform the Ottoman military due to an unwillingness to 56 Kinross, 431. 57 Ralston, 51.
Smith 43 allow the fight to break into open combat between the Nizam i Cedid and the Janissary Corps, a fight his forces might well have won. Additio nally, the support of the religious and legal scholars for the Janissaries lent legitimacy to their cause and allowed Selim's political opponents to enter the conflict as well. Tanzimat The only surviving male in the House of Osman, Mahmud II, Selim III 's nephew and confidant, came to the throne with the intention of completing the military modernization his uncle had begun. Each attempt to reform the Janissaries, however, was met with violence. The first attempt came in 1809, though in 1823 the Janiss aries still retained their traditional rights, privileges, and equipment. They also maintained their poor order and discipline; despite Mahmud's orders the Janissary Corps refused to mobilize for war in Greece during the Greek Revolt in 1821. Instead, Ma hmud was forced to rely upon untrained and demoralized levies; the war in Greece went poorly until the forces of Muhammad Ali, then the Ottoman governor of Egypt, arrived. Muhammad Ali, operating on the local level, had succeeded where Selim III and Mahmu the Greek rebellion would prove successful, the effectiveness of Muhammad Ali's soldiers was not lost on Mahmud, nor was the danger of a subordinate ruler with greater military power than the Sultan. 58 Beginning in 1826 Mahmud began new military reforms, first building a foundation with the religious and legal establishment. 58 Ralston, 52.
Smith 44 Mahmud enjoyed good relations with the religious establishment ( ulema ), having spent many years cultivating ties and promoting those with interests and vision similar to his own. By 1826 he had both the support of the ulema and a pretext for the adoption of western style military equipment and training it was not the European model that was to be adopted, but Muhamma d Ali's Egyptian model. 59 The Janissary Corps, upon receiving news they were to provide men to serve in this new force, revolted, swarming towards the Sultan's palace demanding the heads of his ministers. Again, unlike his uncle, Mahmud had prepared a loy al force of guards and artillery batteries, and was willing to order them into battle. On June 14, 1826, 4000 Janissaries were killed during the siege and bombardment of their barracks, followed by the murder of thousands more in the provinces. With the religious and legal authorities on the Sultan's side, and with the Janissary garrison of Constantinople destroyed, Mahmud issued a proclamation formally abolishing the Janissary Corps and creating a new army, ostensibly on the model of Muhammad Ali's, the Asakir i Mansure i Muhammadiye 60 Following his success against the Janissaries, in 1831 Mahmud II did away with the timar systems and the sipahi cavalry, wiping away some of the last vestiges of Ottoman feudal warfar e. 61 The end of Ottoman feudal land 59 Kinross, 456. 60 Ralston, 54. 61 The timar sys tem and the sipahi cavalry deserve at least a cursory look; while not as central to the political intrigues of the Palace as the Janissaries, they represent both the necessity for further conquest as a reward to the feudal warrior classes, a barrier to lan d and property
Smith 45 management and recruitment for war came far later than the rest of Europe. Much like the Janissaries, the sipahi cavalry represented an obsolete military order of traditional rights and privileges. Although lacking the influence of the Janissary garrison of Constantinople, the sipahi were entrenched in society and the comparatively late end to the Ottoman feudal order further illustrates the conservative forces at work in the empire. Mahmud's new military suffered a se ries of problems, particularly trouble in hiring advisers and officers knowledgeable in European style tactics and training. This was due, in no small part, to rising nationalism throughout Europe foreign officers were increasingly unwilling to train an Ottoman military their countrymen might face in the near future. Due to this, Mahmud's new army grew slowly and performed poorly in battle with Russian forces. However, it did prove to be an effective tool within the Empire for maintaining order and enf orcing the will of the Sultan; a stark contrast with the traditional role of the Janissaries in Ottoman history. Though Mahmud's original goal was merely the reform of the military, the abolition of the Janissaries, the sipahi s, and the timar system nec essitated greater overhaul of the Ottoman economic and social structures. With the army under control, further reforms were needed to bring the financial and economic machinery of the state under similar control, and provide the economic support reform, and, much like the Janissaries, the continuation of obsolete military traditions in the name of traditional rights, privileges, and Ottoman law.
Smith 46 the new m ilitary forces required. 62 To this end, Mahmud began the Tazimat (Reorganization) at the end of his reign in 1839, to be carried out more fully by his son, Sultan Abdulmecid I (r. 1839 1861). Despite Mahmud's initial military reforms, the Ottoman Empire f ound itself facing defeats by the Russian military in the north, instability in Egypt due to Muhammad Ali's rising power, and strained diplomatic ties with Europe over the Greek rebellion. The sixteen year old Sultan Abdulmecid, and his chief advisers, sa w further modernization of the state and social apparatuses as the solution, and to that end issued the Hatti i Serif of Gulhane, or the 63 Entrenched social and political structures are a threat to any reformist minded leade r, particularly considering the weakened state of the sultanate in the years leading up to the reigns of Selim III and Mahmud II. Although Mahmud restored much of the autocratic authority and privilege of the sultanate, the centuries of imperial decline a nd loss of power and prestige had harmed the office, which had allowed the power and influence of the court, the Janissaries, and the ulema to flourish. As a result, reformers were challenged at every turn by power structures codified by the disinterest o f passive sultans since the days of Selim II. Whereas other European powers had clearly delineated spheres of authority and influence within the state, the Church, the nobility, and the 62 Ralston, 58. 63 Caroline Finkel, Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire 1300 19 23 (New York: Basic Books, 2005), 449
Smith 47 common man, the Ottomans found that their institutions had became in tertwined and in many cases, inseparable. This was particularly true of the Janissaries, as officers were promoted to high rank in the government, bureaucratic functionaries recruited from Janissary pages, and the military power of the corps lent authorit y and power to the ulema and dissident factions at Court or any others able to pay their extortionate demands. With the military force of the Janissaries removed from the picture, Mahmud and his successors made far greater progress in modernizing Ottoma n society and government than any of their predecessors. Announced in the final year of Sultan Mahmud II's reign, the Tanzimat (The Reorganization) 64 began in full under the leadership of his son, Sultan Abdulmecid I (r. 1839 61). Intended to restore or der and glory to the Ottoman Empire by restoring the confidence of Christian subjects in the Muslim rulers and modernizing the apparatuses of the government, the reforms did succeeding in modernizing the Ottoman state, but did so at a high social cost. Eu ropean Christians were not content with the new religious freedoms and equality guaranteed by Abdulmecid, while Muslims were unhappy with the loss of their privileged status in the Empire, and radical organizations gained favor and support among the people directly contributing to the nationalist sentiments which brought down the Ottoman Empire. Mahmud II's success in breaking the power of the Janissary Corps and creating a loyal, modernized army also broke the power and influence of 64 Officially, Hatti i Serif of Gulhane, or Imperial Rescript of the Rose Chamber.
Smith 48 conservative religi ous leaders in the ulema and entrenched nobles and governors. Without the powerful, if mercenary, Janissaries to act against the sultan, resistance was limited to political and economic action, unlikely to end with the deposition or execution of an Ottom an sultan again. With the military in Mahmud's, and then Abdulmecid's, firm control, modernization was possible in all aspects of Ottoman life. Military reforms, one of the most visible and important attempts at Ottoman progress, met with mixed success One of the ideals of the Tanzimat was legal religious equality; this included provisions for military service. The Ottoman army had long been the domain of Muslims, creating a society in which non Muslims provided the mercantile and economic basis, and Muslims controlled the administrative, political and military spheres. The suggestion that the lines between the two be blurred was met with resistance from both sides, as Christians were often less than eager to be drafted for Ottoman military service, and Muslims wished to keep their traditional roles and rights as the warriors of the Empire. For an empire focused upon past glories an underlying conservatism to return to the old ways, the departure from the gaza is significant. If infidels were fighti ng in the wars, where could the concept of a holy war fit? Although the poll tax on non Muslims was abolished by the Tanzimat it was replaced by the bedel i askeri, the payment of which precluded military service effectively the purchasing of military exemptions. The exemptions for
Smith 49 Muslims were significantly more expensive. 65 Though compromises rarely please preserve social stability and traditional roles, even as the legal cod es began to codify social and religious equality. 66 Preserving traditional roles, however, was insufficient to move the Ottoman Empire forward into the modern era. Muslims, traditionally the highest in social stature in the empire, were increasingly chall enged by Christians emboldened by the protection of the Christian powers and supported by international trade and ties with their European protectors. 67 The reform and modernization of Ottoman tax structures were a central goal in the Tanzimat Abdulmecid, in writing his governors about the adoption of caused by malpractices in taxation and to alleviate the tax burden of the populace, so as to bring about a happy solution to this 68 Much like the military reforms, however, the Tanzimat managed to displease nearly all Ottoman subjects. The trouble began with the end of tax farming systems, and the introduction of proportionate taxation following a survey and accounting of the wealth of all Ottoman subjects. Poor Christians complained of having their possessions valued at double their value, significantly increasing their tax burden. Rich Christians were unhappy with having to pay a proportionate tax, 65 Ralston, 60. 66 R. Davison, Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856 1876 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963), 94 5. Cited in Ral ston, 61. 67 Finkel, 468. 68 Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire: Conquest, Organization, and Economy XVI 21.
Smith 50 rather than the t raditional tax equal to that owed by the poor. Muslim groups, previously exempt from taxation, were angered by the perceived injustice of taxes levied on them under the Tanzimat 69 A Christian uprising in 1841 in the villages surrounding the city of Nish began with richer Christians unhappy with the prospect of paying a higher proportionate tax rallied poorer Christians against the reforms with threats of destroying their own vineyards and ending the employment of the poor rather than pay higher taxes. Th e uprising in Nish was further emboldened by the nearness of Serbia, and many wealthier Christians fled across the border after the Ottoman army moved in to restore order. 70 Ultimately, the Christian uprising resulted in mass looting and destruction by the Albanian soldiers brought in to quell the population. In the aftermath, European powers, particularly France and Russia, used the pretext of protecting Christians, as was their prerogative under the capitulations of the Ottoman Empire, to reach further into Ottoman internal affairs and forge closer ties with Christians living within the Empire. Furthermore, the violent outcome served only to reinforce existing opinions on both sides of the Tanzimat and highlighted the social upheaval of the reforms. Conservative elements in the government argued that the uprising in Nish only proved that the Tanzimat was too beneficial to non Muslims, and would only encourage further acts of rebellion and the breakdown of the Empire. Reformist elements saw the uprisi ng as a warning, instead, of the reaction of Christians to 69 Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire: Conquest, Organization. and Economy XVI 23 70 Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire: Conquest, Organization. and Economy, XVI 27.
Smith 51 the slow and uneven application of the reforms in daily life. The most immediate impact, however, was the economic difficulty created by failures to collect the taxes mandated under the new tax co de. 71 There was similar discontent throughout the Empire. As some were raised up to equality, those at the top felt their status and privileges decrease, even as their legal and social status remained fixed. Ahmed Cevdet Pasha, a central architect of the Tanzimat commented: the Ottoman state, the communities were ranked, with the Muslims first, then the Greeks, then the Armenians, then the Jews, now all of them were put on the same lev government has put us together with the Jews. We were content with the 72 The long Ottoman tradition of religious and cultural acceptance through distinct and segregated communities was ser ving now to undermine the Empire. Even as the millet system was being dismantled, the newly assured equality under Ottoman law was allowing the separate communities to pull further and further apart. Rather than seeing themselves as Ottomans first, and G reeks, or Armenians, or Jews second, much of the population remained primarily loyal to race and creed. As concessions accumulated and provincial administration expanded under the Tanzimat reforms, the edges of the Empire were increasingly vocal in their desire for autonomy. 73 The Sick Man of Europe 71 ib id XVI 29. 72 Ahmed Cevdet Pasha, Tezakir 1 12, ed. Cavid Baysun. (Ankara, 1953), 67 8. Cited in Lewis 324. 73 Finkel, 464.
Smith 52 In the mid and late 1800s the reversal of earlier Ottoman territorial gains began to occur. Border provinces, often sharing greater cultural and economic ties with bordering states, were rarely satisfied with Ottoman concessions and wished to leave the Empire and join their neighbors. This was seen before in the uprising in Nish, and later occurred in Crete and throughout the Balkans. 74 Ottoman inability to halt the defection and emigration of the border popul ations in Europe was a central failing of the government. The rise of Russia as a world power had much to do with this paradigm shift. While the Western European powers certainly played a role in the elevation of non Muslim Ottomans, the rise of Orthodox Russia was the single greatest challenge to the old Ottoman order. Not only was Russia the primary military antagonist during the nineteenth century, but the sudden appearance of a rival imperial power friendly to the Orthodox Church caused social chaos in the empire. For centuries the Ottoman Empire, with its tolerance of Orthodox Christians, had been preferable to the rule of Catholic Europe. With Russian military power backing Ottoman capitulations to their northern rival, Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire found themselves in powerful positions for international trade and commerce, as well as domestic Ottoman affairs. 75 The relative stability of Russia also provided a refuge for dissident Ottoman Orthodox Christians; the implications of having a welcoming destination for emigrating Ottoman subjects can be seen in the flight of the 74 Finkel, 465. 75 Finkel, 469.
Smith 53 Christians of Nish to Serbia. The combination of a refuge for emigrants, a powerful military ensuring the continued safety of Ottoman Orthodox Christians, and the ta x free status attainable through Russian patronage of Orthodox merchants resulted in great advantages for the Ottoman Orthodox in forging ties with Russia, rather than the local or imperial Ottoman administration. This phenomenon was not limited to Orthod ox Christians and Russia, similar agreements resulted from earlier capitulations, 76 though the proximity of Russia increased the ease of emigration and protection. Even as the European powers were responsible for much of the growing instability of the Ott oman Empire, they were simultaneously the only ones with the power to save it. Sultan Abdulmecid I and his brother, Sultan Abdulaziz (1861 1876) were aware of the need for Ottoman diplomatic and economic ties with Europe. Ali Pasha, one of their chief ad visers, wrote in 1871: We had to establish stronger relations with Europe. It was essential to identify Europe's material interests with our own. Only then could the integrity of the Empire become a reality rather than a diplomatic fiction. In making the European states interested directly and materially in the conservation and defense of the country, we entered into many partnerships necessary for the regeneration of the Empire and the development of its riches. 77 Specifically, this meant partnerships wi th liberalized France and England. Autocratic Prussia, Russia and Austria were political organized along similar lines to the Ottomans, but had more to gain from the growing weakness of Constantinople. As Prussia established its military power against an y foe it could 76 For example, France protected Catholics, and England protected Jews. 77 blems of External Pressures, Power Struggles, and Budgetary Deficits in Ottoman Politics under Abdulhamid II (1876 unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Princeton University (1976), cited in Finkel, 463.
Smith 54 find, Austria gathered power in the Balkans, and Russia sought territorial gains and Slavic unification, the Ottomans turned to France and England. As a result of closer ties with more liberal Western Europe, the flow of nationalist sentime nt rapidly accelerated. Though this alone would not have damaged Ottoman modernization efforts had it happened at another time, the rise in nationalism coincided with the end of the millet system and the attempt to forge a single Ottoman identity. Instea d, the former millets began to coalesce around their nascent nationalist identities, and the intended ideal of Ottomanism was largely ignored. Just as the social reforms of the Tanzimat attempted to change Ottoman culture too quickly, so too did economic and military reforms. The combined strain of reforming the government, economic restructuring, repayment of foreign loans taken during the Crimean War, the construction of the Ottoman Empire's first railways, and Abdulaziz's personal project of building a mighty navy, proved far too much for the teetering Ottoman economy to support and complete financial ruin occurred in 1871. 78 As the economic power of the Ottoman Empire eroded further, those best able to support the struggling empire were forging ties with foreign powers. Muslim merchants controlled the internal trade but it was foreign trade which brought wealth into the empire, and this was the sphere of non Muslim merchants. Their trade connections, and tax exempt status, through foreign ties and t he capitulations, placed them beyond Ottoman authority in a way that 78 Finkel, 478 479.
Smith 55 crippled economic progress and development at a time when the Empire most needed it. Ottomanism, the ultimate goal of the Tanzimat or Ottoman nationalism, was never realized, largely du e to the non integration policy practiced for centuries of Ottoman rule. After leaving the disparate religious and ethnic groups separate and unequal under Ottoman law, the change to religious and legal equality was too great a shift to accomplish under t he best of circumstances. The frequent wars with Russia, border conflicts in the Balkans with Austria, and internal meddling by all of the European powers through their protected groups further destabilized the Ottomans and ensured that the nineteenth cen tury did not present the best of circumstances. The gradual loss of European territorial possessions meant the loss of the richest and most productive agricultural regions under Ottoman control, accelerating the financial ruin of the government and the, n ow near inevitable, collapse of the old Ottoman order. Conclusions While the end of the old Ottoman order was unavoidable, the end of the Ottoman Empire had remained a powerful and important political and cultural entity in Europe. Necessary as both a counterbalance in the East against Austrian power, and as an eastern Mediterranean trading partner, the empire itself was a respected member of the European sphere of diplomacy and tr ade. Had the Ottomans been further removed, as were the Indian Mughals with whom they shared so many characteristics, they would have likely found themselves the
Smith 56 victims of European imperialism, large scale conquest, and political subjugation. Instead, t hey were viewed as equals rather than savages due to their proximity and long lasting trade and diplomatic ties with all of Europe. By the turn of the twentieth century the Ottomans were lagging far behind the rest of Europe. Deeply indebted, militaril y obsolete, and defeated in World War I, the last surviving vestiges of the Ottoman Empire were well on their way to partition and domination by the victorious European powers. The Turkish War of Independence (1919 1922/3) managed to restore Turkish auton omy, led to the negotiation a far more equitable Treaty of Lausanne (1923), and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, the lone successor state to the Ottoman Empire. In many ways, the territory of modern Turkey experienced the same wave of national ism seen elsewhere in the Empire. The same sentiment that led to the Christian revolts in Nish allowed for Turks to come together to fight the occupying European forces following World War I. Despite the failure of Ottomanism on an imperial scale, there was, finally, a sense of nationalism and patriotism so long sought after by the sultans. So long as the imperial government was the central power in the empire there could be little agreement among the disparate and varied social and ethnic groups. With the occupation of the empire following World War I a new enemy arrived capable of uniting the people of the Ottoman Empire against it. Out of the fall of the empire came a unifying moment in which the Ottoman people found a nationalist spirit and forged t he modern country of Turkey. Though the House of Osman did not
Smith 57 benefit from the rising tide of Turkish nationalism, the Republic of Turkey preserved Turkish traditions and history in a way not possible had the victors of World War I succeeded in partition ing the entirety of the empire. The long standing Ottoman tradition of the millet system ensured that when nationalism arrived in the Ottoman consciousness, it was not arising from a shared sense of Ottomanism, but of a shared idea of Greek Orthodoxy, Arm enianism, Arabism, Serbianism, or a dozen other ethnic and cultural groups created and delineated by the Ottomans over the centuries. The failure of Ottomanism highlights the difficulties of creating an empire spanning nationalist sentiment in a heterogen eous collection of ethnic and religious groups. Patriotism is possible, but patriotism had given way to nationalism by the time the Tanzimat reforms were introduced. The shared cultural and ethnic identity central to nationalist thought contributed to mi nority groups finding greater common cause with foreign nations, rather than the Ottoman state. Ottoman recognition of the power of nationalism came only after the end of the empire, and creation of a Turkish identity for all citizens of modern Turkey, re gardless of ethnic origin. Ultimately, the Ottomans, long a step behind Europe in adopting new technologies or innovations, fell further and further behind the technological and ideological curve as the European rate of advancement ever increased. Conser vative, reactionary forces in the government and military conspired with a self defined Ottoman apex and a desire to return to traditional ways to impede progress and reform. The Ottoman need for an imperial apogee, as discussed by Karen Barkey
Smith 58 overwhelm ed the empire's ability to maintain itself. 79 When each passing year is compared unfavorable to an arbitrary peak of Ottoman society the prevailing narrative of decline easily becomes fact. The rise of religious fanaticism and Islamic purity in an effort to regain lost glories, and the shunning of innovations and technological advances capable of restoring the Ottoman Empire, limited the ability of the Ottoman state to adapt to a changing world. The long lived feudalism of the sipahi cavalry and the react ionary Janissary Corps were only two of the more visible components of Ottoman conservatism. Reforms of economic and social concerns were similarly hampered, if not through violent resistance then through simple non compliance. The Ottomans, in the end, sought to preserve the apex of an archaic society through a return to an idealized imitation of it. Conservative forces at every level of society sought greater Islamic purity, overlooking the simple fact that it was an open, heterogeneous society which h ad strengthened the growing Ottoman Empire, not a fanatical devotion to tradition. If anything, the reactionary elements of the Ottoman government, military, and ulema were the radicals, breaking with centuries of Ottoman inclusiveness in favor of a hard line religious empire. Despite the successes won by more liberal sultans during the nineteenth century, conservative forces were too entrenched to allow the empire to modernize as quickly as was needed the Ottomans were never able to recapture the dynam ic, multi cultural element which had been lost, and with it, soon followed the Empire. 79 Barkey, 23.
Smith 59 The fate of the Ottomans lay not in the economic decline of the empire, but in the changing social climate. After centuries of restricted innovation, top down initiati ves to modernize the empire failed to take hold with the population. Nationalism and patriotism had already swept across Europe and the Ottomans were losing the culture war with their neighbors and trading partners. Just as Byzantium lost border regions to the Ottomans as the population welcomed Ottoman rule, Christians, Jews, and Arabs began to see their best interests outside of Ottoman control. The end of the Ottoman Empire was not predicated upon imperial overreach or economic decline, but the changi ng social currents around the world. Centralized autocratic rule could not bring about the social and political changes necessary to maintain the support of the many peoples of the Ottoman Empire. The empire ended much as it had begun, as border communit ies saw their interests and futures lying with neighboring states.
Smith 60 The Sun Sets on the British Empire The British Empire was twice built, and twice lost. First came the American colonies, an empire of the North Atlantic. The private enterprise of charte r companies along the eastern seaboard combined with the military conquest of Canada during the Seven Years' War (1756 1763) to create an economic empire utilizing pre industrial mercantilism in a closed economic system of agricultural goods, raw materials and plantation slavery. After the loss of the American colonies the British Empire was rebuilt through the actions of independent settlers, industrialists, soldiers, and missionaries as economic, spiritual, and martial glory beckoned. The transition fr om fallen Atlantic Empire to resurgent world power, dominating much of the globe, is a useful example in considering Paul Kennedy's model of imperial decline. However, much like the Ottoman Empire, the case is not nearly as simple a Kennedy suggests. Whe reas Ottoman expansion was driven from the top down, from the Sultan and his advisers, the expansion of the British Empire was driven by private actors from all componen t driving a different segment of society, and bringing different benefits and types of colonies into the orbit of Great Britain. The pursuit of economic opportunities by the wealthy and entrepreneurial classes, the benefits of military and merchant work b y the working and middle classes, and the religious duties of missionary work by the faithful, both lay and ordained, combined to create a many faceted approach to empire building. At times the competing aspects of the empire seemed not to know what the o thers were intending to do next. As a result, the British Empire grew with no single goal in mind. There was no universal sense of Manifest Destiny, Parliament did not pursue a consistent agenda of
Smith 61 world conquest, and there was neither impetus nor desire for religious war. T here w ere however, private individuals with a taste for glory, God, and gold. British culture allowed for the singular importance of the individual in the building of empire far earlier that her rivals, and this individual freedom w as pursued to the fullest by the magnates, traders, younger sons of wealthy families, eager evangelicals, and the poor and unskilled of town and country. The overarching theme throughout British imperial history is that the realities of administrating the empire crept up on the government as Parliament was forced to step in and clean up the messes created by unrestrained private expansion of the colonies as merchant companies and private individuals proved themselves incapable of managing their acquisition s. This was the case throughout the empire's history, including westward expansion into Native American lands from the original thirteen colonies in the eighteenth century, mismanagement and greed by the East India Trading Company's administration of Indi a in the early and mid nineteenth century, colonial expansion northwards from the Cape Colony in South Africa during the mid and late nineteenth century. Given the piecemeal and varied introduction of new colonies into the formal Empire, this is not an al together incorrect self assessment. This creates an interesting set of competing beliefs, in that the Empire is evidence and proof of British power and authority, and yet not something which Britain necessarily needed, wanted, or should have possessed. There were many interests at work in the colonies, with the major divisions delineated by their motivations: gold, God, and glory. The three motivations supported a different aspect of the British Empire: traders, merchants, and businessmen seeking profi t drove territorial expansion, missionaries brought British culture and education to
Smith 62 colonized populations, and those seeking martial glory or a chance at a new life served in militias, private armies, and the British regular army to provide defense, secur ity, and the military support for the British Empire. By 1910 these factors had forged an empire covering a quarter of the earth, and a quarter of the world's population. These very strengths which built the British Empire were ultimately unable to arres t its decline and dissolution. Innovation and investment moved beyond Britain to her competitors, military power could not defeat the free determination of independence or non violent movements, and the influence of missionaries hastened the end of the Br itish Empire by prepared native administrators capable of taking on the governance of their own countries. Although the decline of British manufacturing and relative economic power played a greater role in comparison to the Ottomans, it was the loss of ec onomic power coupled with a changing social and political atmosphere. In the case of the British Empire it was in part, a reality of imperial overstretch, though the blame cannot be limited to economic decline. The First Empire The loss of the American R evolutionary War notwithstanding, the British navy, as well as both the regular army and the irregular forces in the service of the great trading companies, was nearly unstoppable for much of Britain's colonial history battles would be lost, but not wars British invincibility was furthered by the technological mismatch present in many of their conflicts. Against pre gunpowder civilizations British tactics and technology were insurmountable, while superior training and adaptive tactics won victories aga inst more advanced civilizations and irregular forces. This was the case in the conquest of India British tactics and political advantage in a splintered Mughal Empire defeated the well equipped and supplied Mughal troops.
Smith 63 Similarly, the British army w as able to overcome initial setbacks in the Second Boer War through adaptive tactics and an evolving understanding of the enemy. Simultaneously, British naval power was a dominate force for much of recent history. The combination of the natural geograp hic defense of the English Channel, combined with a well equipped and trained navy for much of British history, allowed for a safe and secure core of the empire in a way other contemporary imperial powers would never enjoy. As a result, while the colonies themselves were at risk of military incursion and conquest, the center of British power was removed from any potential threats. While this could create stability and a sense of security for the British Isles, it also required a greater outlay of time and energy in shipping British soldiers to far flung theaters of war. Most notably, this can be seen in the cost and time of transporting British armies to the American colonies during the 1770s (George Washington's successful overall strategy of merely avoi ding total defeat took advantage of this), and the slow ability to respond to developments in India in the following century. Though British defeat in battle brought about the end of the war, the loss was hardly a military one. The mechanics of that defe at may categorize it best as an economic, rather than a military, defeat. The mere cost of transporting and supplying British army regulars halfway around the world was quickly outpacing the economic ability of Britain to support the war effort. Had the c ost of the war not been so high to the British, it would have been impossible for the American colonists to defeat the British army regulars in a prolonged war the British Pyrrhic victories in the southern colonies against Nathaniel Greene were set in mo tion by the financial need to divide the thirteen colonies and bring the revolution to a swift end. Although strategic and domestic political factors played a role a well in the conclusion of the American
Smith 64 Revolutionary War, these were circumstances which could not be learned from in the same way as the economic costs of waging a protracted war against a rebellious colony. Accordingly, the British response to the loss of the American colonies should primarily be viewed through the economic consequences of the war, and not domestic political issues. The central political lesson from the American Revolution was not of domestic issues, but in the need for compromise and dialogue with colonial interests. The belief inability to compromise on issues of colonial freedoms, ultimately encouraging American revolutionary leaders to seek total independence, and not merely increased autonomy. 80 Three Motivations of Empire: Gold Expansion of the British Empire had long been driven by companies and corporations. With the early demise of the British guild system and the rise of the great chartered companies, Britain businessmen, entrepreneurs, and fortune seekers were well positio ned for driving the economic and territorial expansion of the Empire. From the royal charters held by earlier American colonists to the complex legal standing possessed by the British East India Company, commerce, trade, and economic protections were domi nant forces in British territorial expansion. Individual businessmen were able to wield exceptional influence in the growth of the empire through personal wealth, and greatly shaped the direction and policies of the British government through their pursui t of profits. Without the suggested consequence of gold and profit, there would have been 80 W.D. Hussey, The British Empire and Commonwealth, 1500 1961, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963), 128 9.
Smith 65 little motivation for the creation of Britain's colonies. Even in the cases of religious colonies seeking religious and social freedom, locations and industries w ere chosen with an eye towards economic viability and financial profit. In the early days of American colonization this took the form of timber and raw materials, later the plantation colonies of the Caribbean exploited location and environment to produce rum, sugar, and indigo. The nineteenth and twentieth century apogee of the British Empire saw gold mining in South Africa, textiles and cotton from India, gold mining and agriculture in Australia, and the exploitation of natural resources across central Africa. The unguided nature of British imperial expansion can be seen in the unregulated and free management of many colonies by their founders or company so long as they remained trouble free and profitable. Only when social or economic problems arose did the British Crown and Parliament step in to smooth the cash flow from troublesome colonies, as was the case in the wake of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. In this, the British government showed just how central profit was to its perception of the Empire. The Mutiny disrupted trade, terrorized and murdered British citizens, and destroyed infrastructure but only in certain regions of India. Despite this, the entirety of the East India Trading Company's territory was taken into government control and the E ast India Company dissolved. British business interests were a mixture of self interest and grand imperial dreams. The lifeblood of the empire, ocean transport, was a growth industry for much of Britain's history the growing importance of overseas colo nies as protected markets only increased the need for reliable, secure and swift ocean transport. Even amongst the owners and officers of shipping companies there was no agreement upon motivation. Andrew Thompson, in The Empire Strikes Back? addresses s everal examples. Of these,
Smith 66 Donald Currie of the Union Castle Line and Sir Alfred Jones of Elder Dempster & Co. are the most diametrically opposed. From these dynamic titans of transportation and trade expansion during the late 1800s, two viewpoints becom e very clear. Perhaps unsurprisingly, here again are found two of the great motivators of British imperialism: gold and glory. Donald Currie sought business opportunities wherever he could find them; he supported and enabled expansion in South Africa as the expansion of the British Empire suited his economic interests. His position, primarily as a government mail contractor, allowed him to appeal for aid and support from those requiring his services. Imperial communication made life far more bearable in remote outposts and distant colonies, freedom of sea communications between Great Britain and the outer world is as essential to her existence as the passage of air throu gh the windpipe of any human being 81 Despite knowing the importance of his role in the British Empire, Currie sought the support of other businessmen, the military, and the government, allowing those relying upon his se rvices to carry the financial burden of defending and maintaining British shipping routes in southern Africa. 82 In contrast, Sir Alfred Jones endlessly worked for the betterment of the British Empire, investing his own money and company's services in imper ial interests a particular goal of his was British possession of the pestilential West African swamps and coastline. Both the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the British Cotton 81 A.J. Marder, The Anatomy of British Sea Power (London: Putnam, 1940), 84. Cited in Bernard Porter, The Lion's Share: A Short History of British Imperialism, 1850 2004 (Harlow, England: Pearson Education Ltd., 2004), 127. 82 Andrew Thompson, The Empire Strikes Back? The Impact of Imperialism on Britain from the Mid Nineteenth Century (Harlow, England: Pearson Education Ltd., 2005), 33.
Smith 67 Growing Association were founded and financially supported with as sistance from Jones, while his company's ships carried cotton from West Africa to Britain for free and provided free passage for naturalists and scientists bound for study in West Africa, notably including the malaria researcher, Ronald Ross. 83 Currie and Jones are indicative of greater trends in the British Empire, the self interested businessman alongside the philanthropist taking a grander view. Both men ran companies providing vital services to the British Empire, amassed enormous personal fortunes, an d furthered economic development and territorial expansion of the British Empire. Imperial interests were advanced by both idealistic imperial dreams and a desire for pure profit. While imperial visionaries, such as Jones, did promote the empire through research endowments and free services, many of their actions were not required for imperial expansion. West African cotton growers, enjoying free shipment of cotton to England aboard Jones's ships were able to then buy more manufactured goods from returni ng ships, also owned by Jones, allowing his company to recoup losses made on the original transport. Additionally, the founding of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine was championed by none less than the Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain (serve d 1895 1902). 84 While Jones's financial support was no doubt greatly beneficial to the school, it would have existed without his largesse. A third path of imperial British business was well populated with Quakers. Conscientious, out spoken and troubled b y humanitarian questions of British expansion, they counted amongst themselves some of the largest cocoa purchasers and chocolate manufacturers in Britain. George Cadbury (1839 1922), of the chocolate 83 T hompson, 34. 84 Alfred LeRoy Burt, The British Empire and Commonwealth: From the American Revolution, (Boston: D.C. Heath and Company, 1956), 579.
Smith 68 company that bears his name, was an outspoken opponent of the Boer War, supplying pro Boer pamphlets, purchasing a newspaper to provide an anti war viewpoint, and opposing the British creation of concentration camps, forced labor of captured Boer civilians, and property destruction in the pursuit of the war. Economic consequences of his moral stance mattered little to Cadbury advertising declined precipitously in his newspaper, he refused orders for chocolate and cocoa by the British Army during the Boer War, and when ordered by Queen Victoria to supply Chri stmas chocolates to the troops he ensured that he would make no profit from it and that nothing bore the name of his company. 85 Cadbury demonstrated similar convictions in his business dealings. Cocoa from Sao Tome and Principe, Portuguese controlled isla nds off of the coast of West Africa, was commonly purchased by Cadbury's company. In 1901 rumors began circulating that plantation workers on the islands were poorly treated, held in a state indistinguishable from slavery. Over the next seven years Georg e Cadbury pursued a series of reforms with the cocoa farmers of Sao Tome and Principe, the Portuguese government, the Lisbon Association of Planters, and the British Foreign Office, finally culminating in 1905 with a Quaker social reformer, Joseph Burtt, s pending six months on the islands investigating working conditions on the cocoa plantations. Despite promised reforms in the face of threatened cessation of cocoa purchases, no evidence of reform attempts was found by 1908 and Cadbury announced the immedi ate end to the use of Sao Tome and Principe cocoa in his company's products. 86 Although the company's own historians are critical of George Cadbury's actions, 85 Thompson, 35. 86 Thompson, 36.
Smith 69 there is much to be praised in his decision to continue sourcing cocoa from San Tome and Principe Had the economic incentive to work with Cadbury been removed through immediate cancellation of orders there would have been no chance to gauge the true situation on the islands or pressure the planters into implementing reforms. Cadbury himself noted t us that there was no other way of ascertaining facts and bringing the necessary pressure to bear exc 87 Despite the public rebuke and a newspaper's publication of an unflattering expos, Cadbury's actions were the most likely to affect legitimate change in the islands, and his pursuit of the interests of the workers over his o wn standing is commendable. In Cadbury, and other Quakers, the third motivation of imperial service can be found God. Cadbury's business relied upon buying cocoa from plantation colonies, both British and foreign, processing it in English factories, t hen selling it to a large market both in England and the colonies. The entire business benefited greatly from the closed colonial markets, yet Cadbury worked against his own economic self interest, and at times the empire's, in the interests of the better ment of mankind and his sense of religious duty to his fellows, be they British, Boer, or native plantation worker. Even within the sphere of imperialists driven by the lure of gold, there were also influences of glory and God. For every profit driven in dustrialist, there was another who saw the British Empire as an opportunity for good. Donald Currie's self interest and leveraging the importance of his position into support from the government was balanced by Alfred Jones's visions of a greater empire a nd his support of schools and 87 ibid 36.
Smith 70 projects dedicated to expanding Britain's glory. George Cadbury had far more in common with Jones than Currie, though he ignored the greatness of the British Empire in support of the greatness of mankind, supporting the right s of non British and championing ethical and humane relationships with neighbors, enemies, and plantation workers. Cecil Rhodes (1853 1902), perhaps the most iconic of British imperialists, got his start as a businessman in South Africa and made his fortu ne in the diamond rush there. His fortune secured young; he spent the remainder of his life a crusader for his own vision of the British Empire, a homegrown South African Empire stretching north to Egypt. 88 Rhodes resurrected the colonizing charter compan y in 1889 with the British South Africa Company and immediately set to work exploring, exploiting, and colonizing northwards into what would become Rhodesia. During this time Rhodes was negotiating treaties with native chiefs and European colonial powers alike, at times supported by a private army. The relationship between Cecil Rhodes and the Colonial Office in London illustrates the complexities of imperial and colonial control well. Rhodes sought local, colonial governance in Africa, while the governm ent saw imperial control from London as far more ethical and humane separated from the pursuit of profit, governmental rule would be kinder to the native population. British missionaries, long playing a vocal role in British colonial politics, were firm ly on the side of the Colonial Office, finding agreement with the government that imperial rule would be far more ethical. 89 Rhodes preferred local rule autonomy and allowing colonists and pioneers to pursue the 88 James A. Williamson, A Short History of British Expansion: The M odern Empire and Commonwealth (London: MacMillan & Co., 1961), 229. 89 Thompson, 190.
Smith 71 expansion of both colony and empire free of imperial oversight or restrictions. Ultimately, Rhodes secured the political victory through his economic clout, as he had the monetary resources to administer the South African colonies, and the British government did not. The British government was rel uctant to delegate local authority to colonists in part due to prejudices against British colonists. The social use of the colonies as a dumping ground for those socially and culturally unsuited to life in England had allowed the growth of a frontier colo nial culture based upon personal freedom and liberty, traits 90 This was a sentiment shared by contemporary Britons the colonial empire was not a frontier where a man might go to prove himself, but the last refuge of the hopeless, destitute, and rejected. While a wealthy British man might find himself a palatial estate, high office, and great regard and establish himself as the epitome of the traditional British landed gentry of centuries past, to t he British at home he was a general failure, finding what success he could out of sight of polite society. 91 Holding the settlers of the British Empire in such low esteem did little to encourage the British government to intercede favorably on their behalf 'the basic sense of their superiority of rank and wisdom over mere colonials'. In the eighteenth century, Whig grandees and their clients looked down on returning nabobs as vulgar upstarts. In the nineteenth century, Britons in Australia were dismissed for being Irish Catholic, or the descendants of convicts, or both. And in the twentieth century, visitors to Britain from the great dominions were often treated with extre me condescension... 92 90 Thompson, 9. 91 David Cannadine, Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 125. 92 ibid 124 125.
Smith 72 British settlers, in their unceasing lust for land, influence, and resources, were seeking a return to a pre industrial, anti capitalist, romantic landed gentry way of life. 93 The British Empire as a whole sought profit from her colo nies, and benefited minimally from colonists seeking merely to recreate the past privileges of the landed aristocracy. The pursuit of profit and philanthropy was one matter, the recreation of the past another. While administrative and economic realities forced governmental agreement with Rhodes's plan of local administration, it did allow for abuse by self serving colonists. Rhodes was himself guided by his personal opinion of empire, that of 94 Although Rhodes's dreams wer e never realized, his attempts to expand British interests, to spread the light of British culture and civilization throughout the world, are informative. His imperialism was a natural outgrowth of British expansion, yet was not always advocating British superiority. Despite Rhodes's belief in the supremacy of the British, he crusaded for equal rights for the Afrikaners, and even significant freedoms for native Africans in the Cape Colony. Rhodes saw his wealth as a means to an end, a tool by which the e mpire could be expanded, evidenced by his personal investments in the pursuit of imperial interests. Although Rhodes may have been a central figure in the outbreak of hostilities between the Afrikaners and British in South Africa, his intentions had not b een in annihilation or subjugation, but in enforcing a political union between the two for the betterment of both. 95 93 ibid 128. 94 James Tru slow Adams, Empire on the Seven Seas: The British Empire, 1784 1939, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940), 288. 95 Williamson, 289.
Smith 73 Given the importance of economic pursuits in the British Empire, the influence wielded by industrialists and investors is not surprising. The business practices of men such as Currie, Jones, Cadbury and Rhodes shaped imperial policy and territorial expansion, with or without their own active involvement in the growth of the empire. Donald Currie may have only used the empire for his own eco nomic interests, but without his services the empire would have been worse off; the contributions of Alfred Jones are more obvious, providing vital services in addition to establishing the new tools of empire for future generations. George Cadbury was an interesting businessman; his wealth and company were made possible by the empire, while he decried the moral and ethical failings of the very same empire a spiritual conscious with economic clout. As for Rhodes, his lifelong belief in local administrati on and rule, over the imperial control of London, influenced the development of local control throughout southern African colonies, creating a foundation for later self rule and independence in parts of the Empire. Each path of British business contribute d to the growth of the empire, but it would be Cadbury, with his insistence of moral and ethical treatment of native populations and bordering ethnic groups, that would set the social and political environment in the colonies which would allow for the even tual independence of British colonies around the world. Three Motivations of Empire: Glory The British Army, the backbone of the Empire, was a powerful, well trained, and well equipped modern military. Despite rapid technological and scientific progress throughout the British Empire, the military remained largely on the forefront of modernity. In terms of infantry drill, tactics, and equipment, British training, education and economic ability to field a first rate military was undiminished. Even in fail ure and
Smith 74 defeat, as in the case of the Crimean War, the British military and political elite found ways to reform and modernize the military. Though the navy continued to receive the majority of government support and attention for the primacy of the fleet in the defense of the British isles, the army played an equal role in keeping, expanding, and controlling the empire. Two motivations provided a steady supply of recruits eager to serve around the world in the British Army. First, the industrial revolut ion had created enormous income inequality in Britain, creating a virtual lower class caste with few economic possibilities and fewer opportunities for social mobility. Military service brought with it the promise of regular pay, meals, shelter, the poten tial to learn a trade and the promise of a retirement pension. In the absence of civilian opportunity the military provided a path to personal stability. Though not glamorous, the military life was a welcome opportunity to men lacking better options thro ughout the Empire. Despite the unglamorous lifestyle, military service was also seen as a chance to win glory and fame. Even non commissioned officers and enlisted soldiers could see their memoirs published, with opportunities for fame through the report s and stories of the British press. The call to glorious service in the British Army can be seen through the songs, stories, and reports from centuries of service to the British Empire, a call clearly heeded by countless soldiers eager to serve not only G od and King, but also their own ego and vanity. Despite the unglamorous lifestyle that was the daily reality of the British Army, it mattered little if the promise of fame and fortune caused new recruits to sign the next decades of their life away. Briti sh ranks stayed full on youthful dreams of glory and poor economic options at home. The British military served as a social institution for centuries, both sustaining
Smith 75 the Empire and reinforcing the social classes driving its continued expansion. The soci al and administrative make up of the British Empire allowed for the military, both army and navy, to wield enormous weight. An officer's commission provided many things to young British men the continuation of a family tradition of service, acceptance a nd advancement in local social circles, and a respectable first choice career, or a last chance at honor should a number of civil service exams be failed. Regardless of an officer's motivations, his service to the British Empire was a continuation of pro ud traditions, social stratification, and general inability to change one's status in life. Military service, while capable of creating opportunities for officers following their discharge from service, was rarely able to change one's economic fortunes. In fact, it was common for an officer to require private income from property or family merely to meet his daily needs and equipment, while social obligations and any desire for a marriage or family of his own demanded far more. William Robertson, a caval ry officer promoted up from enlisted private, found that his yearly expenses would total £300, though his annual income only totaled £100. The balance would have to be made up through private income or extreme frugality. In fact, Robertson was only able to make ends meet through service in India, as the associated living expenses were far lower than in Britain. 96 Robertson's case was rare, he was an enlisted soldier promoted to commissioned officer, and the first enlisted soldier to rise to the rank of Field Marshall. However, the near unique story of his life is the exception that proves the rule. Even through dutiful service, personal skill and success, commissioned officers remained a closed social 96 Edward M. Spiers, The Army and Society: 1815 1914 (London: Longman, 1980), 5.
Smith 76 circle, dedicated to the preservation of old social distinctions and the belief that enlisted men, drawn from the lower classes of society, required the leadership of gentlemen. Prior to 1871 wealthy officers could purchase promotions which further diminished the chances at merit based advancement for tho se without extensive private means. Promotion beyond captain was rare, as only the independently wealthy could afford commissions beyond the rank of captain. France, notably, was acquiring a full third of her officers from the enlisted ranks by the 1870s while only one in twenty British officers began their careers as a rank and file soldier. 97 Three decades later Lieutenant The prospect is too remote, and is probabl y not considered by one in 10,000 who 98 The disadvantages in this system were two fold. First, as some contemporary officers and soldiers pointed out, promoted sergeants had greater experience in dealing pay of his men, the recovery of stoppages for 'necessaries and kit,' fines for drunkenness, and the keeping of his company's savings 99 Given this experience with the finer workings of the British military, it is fitting that promoted sergea nts often settled into quartermaster duties. 100 Creating a system that favored inexperienced and unfamiliar gentlemen officers for such roles hindered the army and prevented regiments from performing at peak efficiency. The second problem created by the Br itish officer corps was that it protected a 97 Spiers, 3. 98 Sprot, Incidents and Ane cdotes in the Life of Lieutenant General Sprot Vol. 2, (1907), pg. 18, cited in Alan Ramsay Skelley, The Victorian Army at Home: The Recruitment and Terms and Conditions of the British Regular, 1859 1899 (London: Croom Helm, 1977), 198. 99 Spiers, 3. 100 Wi lliam Robertson, From Prviate to Field Marshall, pg. 29 31, cited in Skelley, The Victorian Army at Home 203.
Smith 77 social hierarchy encouraging conservative though and impeded reform and modernization. As only those with private wealth were able to effectively serve as officers, they were the only ones able to form the perso nal ties and achieve the social status necessary to succeed in British society. In short, their families' wealth gave them the opportunities to gain personal wealth. This cycle served to protect and enrich the existing social hierarchy, the perceptions o f class in the British Empire, continue the imperial traditions of previous decades, and kept the military supplied with new generations of gentlemen officers. While the social hierarchy of the British military did not particularly shift between the Crime an War and World War I, the specific composition of the landed gentry did. The military reflected the changing economic fortunes in Britain, as the old aristocracy sold off their estates and lands, which were in turn purchased by the recently economically fortunate industrialists, merchants, and speculators. Despite the change in origin and family history, these newly landed families were eager to gain the respect and status of their predecessors military service was a way to accomplish it. As a result the percentage of British colonels originating from the landed class was 25% in 1854, and 26% in 1914, despite the shift among the gentry from traditional landed aristocracy to the newly rich beneficiaries of the modernizing world. 101 Despite not possessi ng the long family histories or social respect of their landed predecessors, these recently arrived families sought to take on the mantle of landed gentry in British society. Rather than trigger a notable shift in social make up, particularly in the army, they merely stepped into the role of their new estate's previous owners. 101 Spiers, 8. 30% of British Colonels in 1914 were of Professional, Other, or Unknown social origin; the other 70% were drawn from the Peerage an d Baronetage, the Landed Gentry, families with traditions of military service, and the Clergy.
Smith 78 The closed British officer corps, and the specifics of service within its ranks, contributed to the continued need for the social status of land ownership among those lucky enough t o find themselves socially and economically mobile. The vast territories of the British Empire provided obvious opportunities for new estates and lands, and while an estate in India was no equal to one in Britain, the desire for land and status in Britain was a motivating factor in expansion of the colonies. The social structure of both civilian and military life combined to encourage an ever expanding cycle of territorial acquisition and imperial preservation. Echoes of this can be heard in Winston Chur disinterest in the preservation of the British Empire. 102 Furthermore, the political, so cial, and military elites were drawn from the same social class. The influence and wealth these leading families could bring in support of preserving their own status and lifestyle was substantial, and should not be discounted in the political and imperia l policy of the British government. While the British officer corps did not saturate the government in the same way Janissary officers filled the Ottoman government, they still played a large role in the governing of the empire, through both direct civili an service and indirect influence. Military success was generally the rule for the British Empire; significant losses were typically blamed upon individual officers. As a result, minimal reform was instituted for several centuries. Through changing tac tics and battlefields, British military academies continued to develop competent, if not exceptional, officers. The one 102 Britain and the Threat to Stability in Europe, 1918 45, Peter Catterall and C.J. Morris, (London: Leicester University Press, 1993), 119.
Smith 79 great flaw of the military model, however, was the sale of commissions. Although there remained checks in place to ensure a modicum of quality in high ranking officers, the rich and well connected were able to purchase promotions to ranks far above their ineptitude. British military history is full of examples of reversals following the replacement of incompetent, cowardly, or ineffecti ve colonial commanding officers with a replacement better suited and prepared for leadership. It was in this manner that General Howe replaced General Gage in Boston in 1775 following Gage's inability to break the siege of Boston, and Lord Roberts replace d Sir Redvers Buller during the First Boer War. It was not until the Crimean War (1853 1856) that the overall weakness of the British officer corps, and not merely individual officers became readily apparent. Tactical blunders, communication errors, and petty rivalries resulted in needless loss of life and battles. More immediate than the poor leadership, however, was the British press, particularly in the form of the first modern war correspondent, William Russel. 103 The Crimean War was the first intern ational conflict fought with telegraphs, railroads, and photographs. Rapid communication and the British press allowed for the rapid dissemination of the realities of war, turning public opinion against the standing government. Ultimately, the standing g overnment would receive a vote of no confidence, and with it the sale of commissions, was abolished in an effort to reform the officer corps and create more meritocratic promotions. Military reforms following the debacle of the Crimean War illustrated the intertwined circles of British society and the military abolishing the purchase of commissions allowed for other social classes, lacking wealth and connections, to climb 103 Adams, Empire on the Seven Seas 163.
Smith 80 through the ranks. Considering that there had long been the prejudice against non gentleman officers and a long standing belief that enlisted soldiers would only accept the command of gentleman officers, the move away from purchased commissions suggests a societal shift away from class distinctions and towards an increasingly meritocrat ic society. One of the other great reform efforts of the military came after the Indian Sepoy Rebellion in 1857 the British East India Company lost its charter, the private company army disbanded, and the British regular army arrived in its place. Even in this case, it should be noted, the military reform was due not to martial failings but political inability to manage the situation. The sepoy rebellion can largely be laid at the feet of the Company governors; increasing the ratio of British soldiers to Indian recruits discouraged future mutinies, but did little to reform the battlefield effectiveness of the British army in India. The British press can not be discounted; telegraphs and photographs communicated the horrors of the Crimean War to the Bri tish people in a way previous conflicts could not. While the Ottoman Empire struggled to control information, as demonstrated in resistance to the introduction of the printing press, the freer press of the British Empire allowed for public opinion to beco me a valid tool and weapon. Given the ineptitude with which the war was waged, public outcry and the democratic political system of Britain allowed for social change to be implemented. Lacking the British press, or a democratic political system, class di stinctions would have remained a stronger force in British culture and the Empire. Its decline in England with the abolition of purchased commissions marked the beginning of a slow, empire wide movement towards recognition of human rights, general equalit y, and nationalism. It
Smith 81 would be through this recognition of equality and human rights that the British slowly divested themselves of their empire, granting self rule and independence to their colonies through the next century as the old imperial view of B ritish superiority fell away. When technological advances in communication combined with a democratic system the power of the people became an element in policy shifts. The British military, while quite capable of victory against non European enemies, fo und itself in some degree of difficulty when opposed by trained, equipped, and experienced European forces. The British defeats in the early stages of the Boer War, largely at the hands of irregular Afrikaner militia, were a stinging rebuke of the British military. In November of 1899, Indian Secretary Lord George Hamilton 104 The strength of the British navy had long concealed the weaknesses of the British Army, but as the twentieth century approa ched the overall situation was becoming untenable. Despite the vast territories directly ruled by Britain, the army exercised very little control. Political and diplomatic power carried the day, while the meager military presence in many colonies serve d to discourage outside attack, not internal dissent. This was, in part, a lesson learned at great cost from the American colonies in the eighteenth century and later domestic unrest in the nineteenth, as soldiers dedicated to internal control became foca l points of growing unrest, rather than quelling it. 105 The lack of British soldiers in the colonies left the stability of the empire entrusted to the abilities of local British political leadership collaborating with native local leadership. Though this l imited the power of the empire to that which local leaders were willing to 104 Bernard Porter, The Lion's Share: A Short History of British Imperialism, 1850 2004 (Harlow, England: Pearson Education Ltd., 2004) 127. 105 Porter, 199.
Smith 82 give, it allowed England to rule a quarter of the world with minimal investment of personnel. Politically and diplomatically isolated, the British Empire sought to be the maritime equal of any two rivals combined, yet French, German, Russian, American, and Japanese sea power was rapidly growing. Moreover, the economic realities of building and maintaining a navy of such a size were extremely draining. For much of the nineteenth ce ntury the British government kept the navy a third larger than the French fleet. 106 The early defeats of the Boer War highlighted the degraded state of the army, but the traditional importance of the navy led to great expenditures in building up the fleet, while the land forces continued to languish. While army posts and garrisons might require constant supply lines and provide a focal point of civil unrest, the use of warships and gunboats allowed the British to project power throughout their colonies. Th e threat of bombardment from ships of the line or smaller river gunboats projected British military power beyond the effective range of army garrisons. Unrivaled in naval power for much of their imperial history, British superiority on the seas allowed fo r greater force projection around the world maintaining the option of gunboat diplomacy around the world without sacrificing naval power elsewhere. The prevailing political theory of the time, Social Darwinism, did little to allay the fears of the Briti sh, and a significant military build up resulted. The Franco Russo alliance at the end of the nineteenth century created the possibility of naval commitments in the waters around England in case of attack, the Mediterranean to protect valuable trade inter ests, the Black Sea in defense of Ottoman or Indian territory 106 Aaron L. Friedberg, The Weary Titan: Britain and the Experience of Relative Decline, 1895 1905 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), 145 146.
Smith 83 against Russia, and the Pacific in defense of commitments in China. 107 Combined with the need to protect colonies from raids from smaller states and to maintain the potential for gunboat diplomac y the British navy was increasingly forced to revise budgets and request supplemental funding throughout the year in 1899 the first lord of the even as the budget was rev ised upwards by millions of pounds merely to keep pace with French and Russian naval increases. 108 Coming at the end of the nineteenth century, these were expenses the British had increasing trouble in meeting still a powerful economy, British economic gr owth was slowing in comparison to their rivals. Ultimately, the British army and navy may be the least important component in the decline of the colonial empire. Much like the loss of original thirteen American colonies, the loss of the second empire wou ld come not from military defeat but from economic costs and social discontent. Having learned a hard lesson following the American Revolutionary War the British military did not engage in similar conflict with rebellious colonists afterward. The greates t contribution to the later empire was as a social institution perpetuating outmoded distinctions of class. Army and naval officers were common throughout the higher ranks of British society, and it was through enforced class distinctions that much of the empire was built. With the end of the sale of commissions and an increased recognition of merit through the army, a similar societal shift was begun in civilian society as non gentleman officers become parts of traditional high society in Britain. Chang es in class distinctions were not the only contribution the military made to 107 Friedberg, 155 168. 108 Friedberg, 159.
Smith 84 the end of the empire. Military officers held high administrative and diplomatic posts for the history of the empire. However, by the twentieth century non violence was the pref erred method of colonial defiance, and career officers found great difficulty in managing, and even recognizing, non violent opposition. This will be seen to be the case in India with Lord General Ismay. Three Motivations of Empire: God The third motivat ion for imperial service, God, was primarily that of missionaries and teachers, though the motivation was not limited to religious conviction. Though missionaries and many other teachers were driven by a desire to educate and convert, there were also thos e who fully believed in Kipling's White Man's Burden for more secular reasons. However, the similarities in the actions and goals of both secular and religious allow ed them to be considered jointly in this instance. Religious missionaries were at the for efront of territorial expansion with business Empire. Evangelicals of the Church of England were typically quite benign, lacking the violent and oppressive practices see n in earlier centuries. With a primary focus on education and Europeanization, British missionaries were often indistinguishable from British teachers and educators seeking to instill a sense of British ness to the colonized through education and accultur ation. Many of the goals and techniques of British missionaries were eventually adopted by British schools throughout the empire, educating the children of well born, well connected, or wealthy native families. This in turn created a class within native populations capable of handling many of the administrative tasks of the colony, eventually forming both the core of resistance to British rule and the founders of
Smith 85 independent nations. While this is most obvious in the long Indian move towards independence it is also evident in African colonies. Such education and acculturation was most common in British colonies where Europeans remained the minority, and reliance upon an educated native population was necessary for an effectively staffed administration. India and many African colonies are primary among these, whereas Australia, New Zealand and Canada were majority European and did not require the services of an educated native class. The plantation colonies of the Caribbean were agrarian and minimally u rbanized, requiring a far smaller administration and government. Many of these colonies remain closely linked to England, and lacking a strong local government they remained loyal colonies and made few moves towards independence. British missionaries pla yed an interesting role in maintaining the informal empire. It was not uncommon for rival imperial powers to send missionaries ahead of diplomatic missions and military campaigns. By spreading Protestant Christianity, in the form of the Church of England British missionaries were making it far more difficult for rivals, particularly Catholic Spain and France, to establish a diplomatic or cultural foothold. Tahiti serves as another example: British missionaries first arrived in 1797, ] an end to tribal wars, introduced a code of law, and setting up 109 Although Tahitian overtures to formally join the British Empire as a Protectorate were twice rebuffed, Tahiti remain ed loyal to England after France sent Catholic missionaries to the island in an effort to foster closer relations. Protestant influenced Tahitians refused to 109 Williamson, 216.
Smith 86 meet with the French Catholics, forcing the French to rely upon their military and the threat of invasion to claim Tahiti as a Protectorate. While the influence of British missionaries did not prevent the French from seizing the island, it greatly slowed French progress and required the expenditure of time and energy in Tahiti. Taken together, the w ork of Protestant missionaries would have well served the British had the island provided economic or military benefit to the empire as a whole. Though Tahiti was abandoned to the French despite a strong native affinity to the British, it was due to the l ack of economic or military advantages in holding the island, and despite the strong cultural ties forged by English Protestants working beyond the borders of the empire. The missionaries of the British Empire, it should be observed, rarely functioned as individuals alone in the wilderness rather, they were agents of international religious societies. Though the individuals may have been motivated by spiritual devotion and religious energy, the societies' aims were often more complex. In South Africa a lone, the United Brethren (Moravians), the London Missionary Society, and the Wesleyan Missionary Society all competed for converts and the loyalty of native peoples and tribes. 110 The Moravians, though the first to evangelize in an organized manner in Sout h Africa, were a minor force by the time nineteenth century missionary rivalries erupted. The London and Wesleyan societies, respectively non denominational and Methodist, were both long established in Africa, though growing distrust and outright animosit y towards each other grew as clashes over religious doctrine expanded beyond the minor theological issue and into the political as they competed for influence with both local administrators and Parliament in London. Functionally the Wesleyan and 110 John S. Galbraith, Reluctant Empire: British Policy on the South African Frontier, 1834 1854 (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1963), 79 80.
Smith 87 London so cieties were not particularly different, but rather a competition for influence with colonial government which caused their conflicts in South Africa. As a result of the gulf between missionary societies, attempts to teach and convert the native populatio ns were conflated with the advancement of the society. Conflict and competition between the London and Wesleyan societies often took precedence to societies aiding the poor of London; as zealous as a single missionary or social worker might be, the goal of conversion or elevating the poor becomes secondary to the elevation of one's own society over all others. 111 As a result, even as missionaries were spreading British culture education, and religion, they were simultaneously a catalyst of instability in the colonies. Galbraith makes a number of observations about the quality and character of missionaries in South Africa. There was a wide range of education, even within a si ngle onaries was further exacerbated by the difficulties of their location, cut off from social contact with other Europeans and placed into the truly alien environment of the South African frontier with little to no preparation. 112 Given the difficulties an ind ividual missionary faced, alone and separated from friends and family by weeks or months long correspondence, it is little surprise that their closest social contacts, their missionary colleagues, would play an increasingly important role in dictating thei r own goals and 111 Galbraith, 88. 112 ibid 87.
Smith 88 desires. General Charles George Gordon (1833 1885) is a curious example of a devout Christian and career officer whose actions in support of both the British Empire and his faith often lead him into contradictions. Gordon was a curiosity during his own time, often distrusted by his superiors for becoming too familiar with native populations his service in the Caucasus and in China is particularly noteworthy for this. His Christian faith, and desire for the betterment of humanity, lead h 113 Despite his record of frequently quarreling with superior officers and questioning orders, time and again Gordon found himself serving the inter ests of the British Empire and siding against the forces to which he felt the most sympathy. During his time in China, the campaign which made his reputation, he found far greater ideals among the Taiping rebels than the Chinese government; similarly, alt hough he had long crusaded against the Sudanese slave trade, he thought the Mahdi's cause to be justified. 114 In spite of Gordon's fierce Christian faith his lifelong death wish and eventual martyrdom at Khartoum directly resulting from it his moral jud gments and desires for the betterment of humanity were secondary in the pursuit of imperial interests. 115 This is in keeping with the lack of influence and power wielded by traditional British missionaries. Even with his public stature and fame in England (he was a favorite of no less than Queen Victoria) Gordon was unable to parlay his standing into influence upon imperial designs. Few Britons were as far out on the frontier as missionaries, nor in as much 113 Anthony Nutting, Gordon: Martyr and Misfit (London: The Reprint Society, 1967), 81. 114 Nutting, 286. 115 ibid 280.
Smith 89 contact with native populations. Given this, it is little surprise that British governors often sought the advice of missionaries on questions regarding the treatment and welfare of the natives. However, the missionaries themselves had little power or influence, and their advice was often based on pol itical expediency for their organizations over the best interests of the natives. While the humanitarian ideals were a political tool in Parliament, it was, at best, a useful cover for activities in the colonies. political needs, the only true judge of a British governor's effectiveness was his ability to maximize profits and minimize costs. All else, including humanitarian and religious inclinations, were of a sec ondary concern. 116 Despite this generally negative perception of missionaries by the imperial bureaucracy, they were typically viewed favorably by the colonial leadership. Additionally, the schools created by missionaries provided access to education for t he colonized, eventually creating the native mid level administrators on which much of the empire relied upon in the early and mid twentieth century. Despite the dismissal of the al elites which created stability though local administration in the colonies, particularly through World War II as the empire's focus was otherwise occupied. The same local elites were typically at the forefront of independence movements, often ensuring the peaceful and smooth transition to self rule. 117 It is not a stretch to argue British missionaries set the foundations for the eventual independence of the colonies by educating the future leadership of the colonies. Three notable examples of British sc hooling include South 116 Galbraith, 97. 117 Hussey, 152.
Smith 90 African President Nelson Mandela education at a Wesleyan mission schools as a child, Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi studied law in London, and Egypt's first Prime Minister Muhammad Naguib was educated by British tutors. T he humanitarian and philanthropic approach to empire taken by British missionaries frequently put them at odds with military and economic goals within the empire. Despite this, the long term impact, if not the immediate influence, of Christian missions to the colonies was long lasting and deeply felt. Lengthy resistance to local colonial rule, consistent advancement of human rights, and centuries of building educational systems would eventually leave many colonies with the stability, rights, and knowledge necessary to achieve independence from Great Britain. Religious thinkers and leaders were the conscience of the empire, prodding and pushing the economic and military leaders towards recognition of human rights and dignity, regardless of race, religion, or creed. South Africa By the mid 1800s, the British relationship with their empire was of two minds. While the profitable aspects of trade and enterprise were seen as well and good, the governmental expenditures in support of private business were frequ ently questioned. Despite this, there was a concurrent opinion that Britain was responsible for her colonies, and could not now shirk her imperial duties. Earl Grey, writing in 1853, acknowledged both the unfortunate economic requirements of maintaining the empire and the duty Britain had inherited in continuing to support colonies and colonists. Few persons would probably dissent from the opinion that it would be far better for this country if the British territory in South Africa were confined to Cape T own and Simon's Bay. But however burdensome the Nation may find the possession of its African dominions, it does not follow that it can now cast them off, consistently with its honour and duty. It has incurred responsibilities by the
Smith 91 measures of former y ears, which cannot be so lightly thrown aside. 118 The Times, writing in the same year, went so far as to call British policy in South and leaving colonists to defend the mselves, thereby halting the unceasing scattering of migrs across vast, and expensive to defend, frontiers. 119 This is not unlike the situation facing Britain almost two centuries earlier following the Peace of 1763 and the end of the Seven Years' War. W ith British territory in North America reaching south from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, and west from the Atlantic to the Mississippi River, Britain possessed a frontier border between 2000 and 3000 miles long, requiring border forts garrisoned with a t least 10,000 men to defend it. British regulars were necessary; the American colonies had long standing jealousies and rivalries preventing cooperation when they permitted militia troops to serve beyond the colony's borders at all. During Pontiac's R ebellion (1763) Pennsylvania refused to supply any militia troops at all, while New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut required that two thirds of their militia troops remain within their borders. 120 This interplay between an individualistic a pproach to colonial expansion and a British sense of duty to defend her colonists resulted in enormous financial outlays for Parliament, as well as a continued colonial sense that future territorial expansion would be similarly honored and protected by Bri tish army regulars. The lack of progress in military planning or frontier defense in nearly two centuries is not due to poor decisions by Parliament, but rather the lack of any 118 Earl Grey, The Colonial Policy of Lord John Russell's Administration (2 Vols., London: Bentley, 1853), II 248. Cited in Galbraith, 2 3. 119 Galbraith, 3 4. 120 James Truslow Adams, Building the British Empi re: To the End of the First Empire, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1938), 392.
Smith 92 substantive decisions by Parliament. Free as the colonies were to oversee the ir own expansion and settlement, the British government played a minimal role in dictating expansion. The difficulty, obviously, was that after the colonies and colonists overextended themselves and their borders, they required greater governmental invest ment in their defense. While the British economy kept pace with territorial expansion for much of the nineteenth century, the relative economic decline towards the end of the century left Britain unable to meet her many commitments around the world. Here then, lay the contradiction the British government preferred to take a hands off approach to the empire, seeking minimal costs and maximal profits while allowing a lack of central authority and individual whim to dictate the movement of borders and exp ansion of territory, ultimately placing impossible demands upon the late nineteenth and twentieth century British Empire. South Africa provides the clearest example of the economic equation that was British imperialism. Dutch settlers remained in South A frica following the British acquisition of the region following the Napoleonic Wars. Resenting British rule, over the following decades, they and their descendants pushed outwards from British control, expanding the frontier and legitimizing subsequent an nexation of land by the British. In 1852 and 1854 the British government recognized the independence of the Dutch Boer republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State, respectively. Independent Boer republics posed no threat to British interests, instea d serving as buffer regions between other colonial powers, the native Zulu nation, and the British Cape Colony while providing for their own defense without British military investment. Additionally, the land was poor, supporting only light agriculture an d animal husbandry. After the British defeat of the Zulu in 1879 the Boers were increasingly resistant
Smith 93 to British expansion, particularly with British annexation of surrounding regions with the discovery of rich mineral deposits. Initial attempts had bee n made in 1875 to find a diplomatic solution to the economic opportunities presented. Modeled on the Canadian federation of French and British provinces, the intended Dutch and British federation would have allowed mining and economic development in the T ransvaal and Orange Free State. The Boers rejected the offer, continuing to nurture resentment and distrust of British rule. The subsequent war, though minimal in cost to human life, was deemed too economically draining to be pursued by the British gover nment, and the First Boer War (1880 1881) was brought to a quick conclusion. Though the Boers agreed to British oversight, any such control was minimal at most. The Second Boer War (1899 1902) came after rising tensions over the discovery of a massive go ld deposit just south of the capital of Transvaal. With the opportunity for enormous economic gain, the discovery granted great mineral value to the land of the Boer republics the ensuing war was far bloodier and more devastating to the land and people of the Transvaal. Although the 1881 peace treaty had offered the chance at future self rule by the Boer territories, the economic future of the British Cape Colony was assured by the opening of the gold and diamond mines to safe and secure expansion. F ollowing the relatively bloodless First Boer War, the Second Boer War saw reinforcements pour into South Africa from across the British Empire. The military tactics deemed necessary to pacify the Boers blockhouses, barbed wire, concentration camps, and 300,000 horses carried a heavy economic toll made palatable only by the enormous wealth attainable through victory. Had the British known of the mineral wealth of the Transvaal in 1880 there would have been no need for a second war; the British would ha ve seen the region
Smith 94 pacified and brought under direct imperial rule immediately. The End of the British Empire The British Empire died in fits, as colonies drifted away from an empire no longer particularly interested in maintaining itself. In part this w as due to exhaustion following World War II, despite Winston Churchill's insistence at maintaining the British Empire, the Empire was exhausted and decades of waning interest in colonial affairs, made worse by the distractions of war, had left many colonie s taking increasing control of their own destinies. Additionally, there was a lack of understanding of the desires of the colonies during this period, with civilian and military administrators failing to grasp the changing reality. Even on the eve of Ind ian independence in 1946, General Lord Ismay noted the fallacy of the idea of civil unrest. Despite the cresting opposition to continued British rule, India remained generally peaceful. Another widespread fallacy was that the Indian masses were writhing u nder our yoke and counting the days until their country was free. What rubbish! We could not have ruled a single week without the consent of the vast majority of the population. How could a Commissioner of a district the size of Wales maintain law and orde r, preside over the Law Courts, collect taxes and carry out the multifarious duties that fell to his lot, with the aid of a handful of assistants and a few score of Indian policemen, unless he enjoyed the goodwill of the masses? To have attempted to stay in India for a moment longer than the majority of the population desired, would have broken us financially and militarily. 121 Ismay's thoughts on continued British rule are telling. First, his writing is centered upon the continued maintenance of law and order for British subjects, the collection of taxes, and the collaboration of the Indian people. Second, he notes that any attempt to remain in India beyond the desires of the people would have broken the British Empire financially, first, and then milita rily much in the way the American 121 Hastings Lionel Ismay, The Memoirs of General Lord Ismay, (New York: The Viking Press, 1960), 414.
Smith 95 Revolution did. Ismay is not entirely correct in this case, and he seems to have missed much of the point of peaceful, civil disobedience on the part of the Indian people. This demonstrated lack of understanding for a non violent movement, as late as the 1940s, is telling of the state of mind of high ranking British military officers. Seeing only violence and outright rebellion as the sign of dissatisfaction, Ismay believes that the Indian desire for independence is entirely driven by the educated elite, and that the majority of Indians care little about independence, or even prefer British to the Empire throughout his life was to Imperial Britain, born in India, serving in Africa during World War I, as the military secretary to the Viceroy of India between the World Wars, spent World War II as the Secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defe nse, and after the war briefly served as the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. This was the pedigree of a British officer and lord well invested in the British Empire, and poorly suited for the delicate negotiations of Indian independence. H is inability to convince the Muslim League that partition was undesirable, a failure to prevent or delay the division of the army between India and Pakistan, and the perception of a pro India bias in later negotiations limited his effectiveness in the sub continent. Ismay was not a lifelong battlefield commander he had decades of service throughout the Empire overseeing imperial issues. Yet even he only perceived dissatisfaction in British rule expressed through violence. By the end of World War II the political and diplomatic realities of the empire were escaping even the best qualified and most experienced of the British officer corps. Non violent civil disobedience effectively neutered the British military in opposing Indian independence, and the is sue
Smith 96 was instead transformed into a battle of public opinion and sympathy, relying upon the social structures and make up of the British people. British military power was further limited in India by the strain of World War II and the economic demands of m ilitary campaigns so far from England. Even as the colonies were turning increasingly to native administration and local rule, the system of non centralized government championed by Cecil Rhodes was reducing the British government's ability to deal with r ising independence movements throughout the empire. Both British and native local rule, effectively compartmentalized perceptions of the empire and reduc ed imperial awareness of the bleeding away of colonial support. Loss of a single colony could be more easily ignored or explained away, particularly as interest and support for continued colonial involvement declined as the twentieth century progressed. Following World War II Britain turned inwards, recovering from the wartime destruction. Three post wa r circumstances encouraged British decolonization: the election of a Labour government, the division of the world between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the French experience of decolonization. Each contributed to the dissolution of the Briti sh Empire over the next three decades. The Labour government elected in 1945 worked to honor agreements made with India regarding independence. Ultimately, far more effort would be made to preserve a unified India through independence, than would be spe nt in any attempt to retain political control of the colony. Economic arguments had reached their conclusion, and British politicians could no longer claim to be seeking to protect British investment in India. World War II ended with Britain indebted to India, instead. Amidst claims that Labour's unfamiliarity with Indian politics and culture worsened the division between
Smith 97 Hindus and Muslims, by 1947 India had been partitioned and granted independence, an event that passed in England with little public re mark. 122 King George VI's own message 123 The King's statement set the tone for British decoloni zation for the remainder of the century. The Conservative Party, led again by Winston Churchill, returned to power in 1951 and found the political alignment of the world very different. The division of the world between the United States and the Soviet U nion had begun in earnest, and the weakness of Britain was increasingly apparent. Following the humiliating involvement with the Suez Canal Britain was left with little choice but to adhere closely to American foreign policy. Revealed to no longer be a g reat power, Britain would quickly shed the last vestiges of empire over the following two decades. 124 Given little choice following the debacle in the Suez Britain aligned with the United States against the rising Soviet Union. As a result, British treatme nt of the remaining colonies was guided by the anti colonial opinions of the original British colonies. Though little progress was made during the 1950s, the 1960s saw nearly all of the remaining overseas colonies achieve independence. By sheer numbers t he African colonies lead the way, though territories in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Central America were not far behind. The final influence upon British acceptance of decolonization was the drawn out conflicts France committed to in an effort to ma intain a crumbling empire. War in 122 Burt, 886. 123 Edward Grierson, The Death of the Imperial Dream: The Br itish Commonwealth & Empire, 1775 1969 (New York: Doubleday & Company, 1972), 269. 124 Grierson, 312.
Smith 98 Vietnam in the 1950s and Algeria in the 1960s encouraged the British government to allow for the peaceful transition of colonies to self rule, working with local leadership and administrators to oversee a peaceful and smo oth transition. While not every colony found immediate success in independence, the British Empire divested itself of its colonies without clinging to past glories and privileges. As Colonial Secretary Anthony his statement encompassed nearly all of the British overseas territories. 125 The British Empire outlived the Age of Imperialism, and once it was recognized the colonial era had passed internal pressures began an ine vitable push towards the end of the empire. Economic and political arguments in favor of maintaining the empire faded rapidly following World War II, with debts now being owed to the colonies, and a changing world order further reducing the power and infl uence of an already weakened Britain. Britain's long defiance and heroic industrial and military effort during World War II had overtaxed the already declining economy. Given the experience of France during colonial wars in Vietnam and Algeria, the Briti sh military could well have fought independence movements; initial successes during the Suez campaign suggests a military capable of handling many threats and enemies in the 1950s. It was the loss of social and political support for the maintenance of emp ire, even on the part of the monarch. The time for imperialism and colonization had passed, and the British Empire chose to oversee the transition to independence throughout her colonies, a final act of philanthropy as an imperial power. Conclusions Brit ain, so long at the forefront of economic, social, and political thought and 125 Grierson, 315.
Smith 99 innovation in the western world had begun to fall badly behind other rising great powers in population growth, trade revenue, and innovation by the end of the nineteenth century. 126 While free trade and economic opportunities were championed among the great powers, Britain continued to treat colonies as economic advantages and closed markets for the sale of exclusively British goods. While this was not unique to the British Empire, the greater extent of British territory combined with the relative fall in economic productivity, created far more problems in the crumbling British Empire than in her competitors. However, the end of the British Empire was not predicated upon economic d ecline. A loss of popular support and the end of a cultural need for empire brought down a system which had become mired in supporting an imperial tradition whose time had long since passed. The economic and social practices of the British Empire had bec ome outdated, with closed trading agreements with colonies, micromanaging economic leadership, and near archaic class and social distinctions both at home and abroad. Even as Britain herself modernized and advanced, throwbacks to mercantilism and feudalis m could be found throughout the colonies, impeding progress and furthering a decline in support for Britain among native populations. In the end it was this loss of popular support, both at home and abroad, which brought about the end of the empire. Concl usion s The end of the British Empire came about not through the armed rebellion so feared by Lord Ismay and other British imperialists, but through peaceful anti colonial movements and independence minded leaders. The long decline of the British Empire 126 Adams, Empire on the Seven Seas 210 211.
Smith 100 w as marked by the loss of British industrial dominance and the relative economic decline in comparison to the other great powers, as illustrated by Paul Kennedy. However, British decline cannot be solely explained through the economic model of imperial ove rstretch. Numerous social considerations must be made of the reality of the British Empire. Changes in the social makeup and class perceptions within British culture lead to massive shifts in imperial policy. Though the Industrial Revolution had shaken up the old social order of England, the newly wealthy investors, industrialists and speculators generally assumed the roles of the old aristocracy, particularly in seeking military commissions and serving the interests of the empire overseas. Following th e Crimean War and the end to the sale of military commissions and promotions, integration between social and economic classes began within the military. As non gentleman officers were promoted and excelled, old social distinctions and class barriers began to fade. Social integration in England paved the way for greater human rights recognition in the colonies. At its root the British Empire was an anachronistic pursuit of territory and status made possible only through the support of modern industrial, e conomic, and military power. The social upheaval of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries and changing perceptions of human rights and dignity brought an end to the prevailing rationale and motivations for the Empire. It was not merely, as Kennedy suggests the economic slide of the British Empire, but the very longevity of the empire beyond a time and world in which it made sense, that brought about the end of the British Empire. The remainder of the twentieth century would belong to multi lateral treaty organizations and the competing ideologies of the Cold War.
Smith 101 The Ends of Empires Both the Ottoman and British Empire were driven by an underlying belief that their imperial rule was preferable to native rule throughout their colonies. In the case o f the British, this is best illustrated by the White Man's Burden, and the persistent belief that those colonies were bettered through the guidance, rule, and protection of the ilanthropy gaza was not a war of annihilation or conversion, but the opportunity to improve the lives of all through Ottoman rule. The benevolent, even welcoming, attitude towards ethnic and religious diversity within the Ottoman state, and an interest through much of the Empire's history of dividing up roles and duties within the empire between Muslim and non Muslim, made Ottoman rule an attractive alternative for ethnic and religious minori ties throughout Africa, the Middle East, and eastern Europe. These were systems which began to break down as social and political understanding began to change. The expanding British acceptance of social equality and Ottoman belief in religious equality created significant social and political upheavals for both empires. British imperialism outlived the era which had inspired it, and as the supremacy of British culture, values, and intelligence began to be questioned, so too did the ability of the Britis h Empire to improve the colonized. This is particularly Indian goods and practices. Without the rationale of philanthropy, Britain was left merely with an economic argum ent for the continuation of the empire, an argument increasingly out of step with the contemporary world. The Ottoman Empire was firmly founded upon the gaza but the end of military
Smith 102 driven expansion in the seventeenth century, and military reforms of the sipahis in the eighteenth, separated the Ottomans from their founding myth. This coincided neatly with the rise of increasingly pluralistic states elsewhere in Europe and the ascendance of Russia as a great power, leaving the Ottomans in a precarious soc ial position. As rival states began promising tolerance and security to religious and ethnic minorities the Ottomans were forced to defend the social makeup of their population. Border populations began to feel more closely related to foreign states and isolated from the Ottoman Empire, challenging the old claim of the gaza that Ottoman rule offered the greatest improvement for the ruled. The rise of Russia as a world power compounded this issue. As Russia rapidly modernized and rose to power, the Ortho dox Christians in the Ottoman Empire suddenly found themselves, for the first time since the fall of the Byzantine Empire, with an alternative to Ottoman rule. Even prior to the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople there were many Orthodox Christians prefer ring Ottoman rule to Byzantine. After the end of the Byzantine Empire this continued, as Orthodox found Muslim Ottoman rule preferable and more accepting to religious minorities than Catholic rule. Russia's rise changed this, and left Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire with a choice. That Russia was an attractive choice, and the Ottoman Empire was forced to deal with growing social instability, demonstrates that by the nineteenth century Ottoman rule was no longer as attractive as it had been. Re forms were made in both empires, though in neither case did they preserve the unity of the empire. British political reforms were generally successful, with greater local and colonial involvement in administration. The immediate effect was to train nativ e administrators and bureaucrats, ensuring stable transitions to independence
Smith 103 throughout the twentieth century. The failures at reform were in economic matters. Long into the twentieth century the British Empire continued to function as a throwback to me rcantilism. Tariffs, import and export restrictions, and controlled markets were all a part of the economic empire. As late as World War II British concerns were dictating the purchase of grain supplies by and for India, at times at the cost of shortages and famine. Ottoman reforms, conversely, attempted to consolidate power with the Sultan once again. The success of the Tanzimat reforms required the authority of the Sultan be sufficient to see to their adoption. While there were some successes in refo rming Ottoman culture, the Tanzimat ultimately sped the decline of the Ottoman Empire by creating social and political instability in an empire already blurring at its borders as ethnic and religious minorities preferred economic, political, and social tie s with coreligionists and ethnic compatriots over the multi ethnic Ottoman Empire. Strikingly, the greatest success in the reforms of both the British and Ottoman Empires was in the military. Both the British officer corps and the Ottoman Janissary Corps and sipahis were conservative forces with vested interests in maintaining the old social order of the empire. The British abolition of the purchase of commissions and the integration of non gentleman officers into the commissioned ranks created a society in which the importance of class, birth, and wealth were in decline. The Ottoman destruction of the Janissary Corps and dissolution of the sipahi land grants did away with reactionary forces and opened the way for all Ottoman citizens to serve in the mil itary. The role of religion was a point of departure between the British and Ottoman Empires. British religious leaders were the conscience of the empire, they advanced
Smith 104 liberal ideas and lead towards the modern recognition of human rights and dignity amo ng colonized people. This encouraged the eventual independence of many colonies, as the schools and ruling philosophy introduced by missionaries introduced the framework for the creation of a modern nation state capable of self rule. Ottoman religious le aders, however, were a conservative force, restricting the development of thought and technology of the empire, greatly weakening the military and economic power of the Ottoman Empire as the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries progressed. It was only afte r the power of the ulema was broken that technological and economic development was able to more freely occur. The consequences of each approach would have serious impacts upon the economic fortunes of the empires. Economically both empires saw their for tunes decline, but for radically different reasons. For the British, relative economic decline was all but unavoidable. As the original center of the industrial revolution Britain saw remarkable economic growth before the rest of the world. Innovation i nvariably slowed, however, allowing other industrializing nations and empires to catch and surpass Britain as the original industrial power fell into relative economic decline. The Ottoman Empire, on the other hand, saw economic decline stemming from tech nological stagnation. Never an innovative state, the Ottoman religious and military establishment turned from technological advances in an attempt to maintain their own power. While they accomplished this reactionary goal, resistance to new technology li mited the Ottoman Empire in both economic development and military power. Paul Kennedy's theory of imperial overstretch is accurate, if limited, in explaining the decline of the British Empire. The relative economic decline of Britain in the late ninetee nth and twentieth centuries was a sign of declining political and military power,
Smith 105 yet the economic decline was tied to social issues beyond the scope of Kennedy's work. Moreover, the bottom up building of the British Empire, driven by individuals rather than imperial command, allowed for the expansion of territory beyond the easy control of the empire. This was the case from the early settlement of the American colonies and continued through the end of the nineteenth century in South Africa. Were it mer ely a case of imperial overstretch the British government may have seen the logic in maintaining control of portions of the empire, thereby reducing imperial commitments to a manageable size in the wake of World War II. Instead, the whole of the empire wa s released to self determination and independence. While imperial overstretch was certainly a consideration in the decline and loss of control of the empire, the end of the British Empire was governed by the views and desires of the British people. By th e 1950s the idea of an overseas empire was no longer appealing, and there was no longer the desire for an empire. Kennedy's theory is far less equipped to explain the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The economic decline of the Ottomans was symptomatic of greater societal and political weaknesses of the empire, and was not in and of itself, a primary factor in the decline of the empire. The top down growth of the empire, commanded by the Sultan or his advisers, allowed for more measured introduction of new territory to the Ottoman Empire, limiting the risk of overcommitment by the Ottomans. Whereas the end of the British Empire was overseen by the decision of the British to allow colonies the choice of independence, it was the people of the Ottoman Empire who chose independence, in defiance of the Sultan. The long war of Greek independence demonstrated the willingness of the Ottomans to fight to defend the unity of their empire. While such efforts were not successful, it demonstrates the lengths to which the empire had gone to
Smith 106 maintain itself. As a result, Kennedy's imperial overstretch is not a wholly appropriate model for the Ottoman decline. The central point of Kennedy's model, relative economic decline, was present in the Ottoman Empire not as a pri mary weakness, but as symptomatic of far deeper problems. While Kennedy's theory is a useful addition for understanding the ends of the Great Powers, it does not offer an explanation for the reasons of imperial decline, only the mechanics. In the case of the British the social changes and democratic nature of the British Empire created underlying social and political reasons for the end of the empire. Kennedy's model easily explains weakness and decline, but cannot alone, describe the underlying causes. Similarly, the economy of the Ottoman Empire was bound by social and political concerns. Economic decline, as a metric, is far more useful in nations with free economies. In the case of the Ottomans too many variables affected the relative economic outp ut, reducing the Ottoman economic decline from cause to symptom. In the final analysis, Kennedy created a useful metric for considering the strength and health of an empire or nation, but not one which should be used alone in determining its fate. No eco nomy can function in a social or political vacuum, and these variables must be weighed against any economic decline to determine the central factors in driving the end of empire. In the case of the British Empire Kennedy is right about relative economic d eclines though he misses the underlying social causes, and in the Ottoman Empire social and political factors took a far greater role and a model of economic decline fails to grasp the complexity of the Ottoman decline.
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